More Healing Thoughts

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Photo by Al Martin Via Upsplash

“Proper healing takes time. Often much more than we had hoped”

There were a lot of great responses to my last article on healing (click here to read it). This subject is of enormous importance to me and will always capture my attention. It is the one shared attribute you will most certainly have in common with anyone you meet. Nearly every human who has ever walked on this planet, at one point in their lives, needed emotional healing from a life experience. Yet, still it continues to be rarely examined and when it is, the antidotes are often vague and of little to no value.

It is vexing why this topic remains in the shadows when many times, it is the answer to living a full and satisfying life. The drawback to examining this subject could be that it touches on very sensitive areas which must be dealt with individually. Truthfully, I wanted to apologize in advance because it is such a challenging subject to cover in 600 words or less. Also, there is an ongoing chance some concepts might be taken out of context; however, that is a risk always worth taking.

Additionally, it’s upsetting when bad or incorrect advice is given; ultimately decreasing the chances for healing to occur. It’s important to know that we all are responsible for our own understanding. Simply because things are spoken or written does not make them fact. This holds true for what I write as well. Never assume that my words are not to be challenged, I encourage opinions which differ or may contradict mine. Questioning our beliefs either changes, alters, or makes them stronger.

One of the most common statements which I believe has very little merit is that “Time heals all wounds.” Perhaps it feels like healing but in actuality, it only lessens the impact of the pain we suffered and the anxiety is less significant. If one were to focus on recollecting moments from that event, no doubt much of the agony and despair would return.

Forgiveness is also key to our healing. However, this concept is also very easily misunderstood and taken out of context. Much advice spewed about forgiveness is that we MUST forgive others. First and foremost, I would NEVER suggest this is a vital part of all healing. It would be completely wrong and compassionless to suggest that forgiving your abuser is a requirement for healing to occur. That choice should absolutely be left up to the individual. If we ever do choose to forgive that person, it is primarily for our own benefit and not that of the one who committed the atrocity.

The complication arises in being able to forgive oneself – another often misinterpreted statement. It was, however, something which through the aid of my therapist, I was able to learn. Not only was I successful in implementing it in my life but became quite competent at teaching and helping others.

Self-forgiveness will be the topic for next week’s article but please feel free to leave comments on how you were able to heal. If you don’t want to wait until next week, please feel free to contact me. My thanks to Al Martin for the beautiful photograph which can be seen on unsplash.com by clicking here.

 

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Let the Healing Begin!

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Photo byZak Boca

“No matter how much ointment is applied to a wound, the body must repair itself before healing occurs”.

The subject of healing past emotional wounds is unfortunately rarely discussed. That was the topic of last week’s article (click here to read it). This week, it’s time to look at action steps that can be taken to begin the healing process. No matter at what stage in life or how bad the damage was, I believe healing is possible.

If all it took were to read a book or listen to an inspiring story for healing to begin, there would be a lot more occurring. However, because our journeys differ, it’s not that simple. While it is helpful to learn from those who’ve successfully traveled it, even the best therapist in the world can’t “make it happen” for anyone. What they do provide are proper tools and insight on how best to use them in our own lives.

Healing, first of all, implies that there is a wound; whether that injury was recent or long ago, some sort of damage was done and now needs repairing. In most cases, the extent of the damage – and this may be a difficult concept initially to understand – occurs by how much we allow it to affect us. For example, as children, we are easily influenced by loved ones and those we trust. If they continually are pointing out how “bad” we are, the tendency would be to believe them and create feelings of worthlessness about ourselves; even though their actions may not have been intentional, it still had a negative impact on us.

Healing begins when we can learn to forgive. But it is vital to understand why and who is being forgiven. Often we hear it is important to forgive others but what is the reason behind forgiving someone else? It is done for our benefit more than theirs. When we are able to forgive ourselves, that truly is the genesis of our own healing. We must forgive all of those negative things we believed who we were and are. These pessimistic thoughts put limitations, hurdles, and roadblocks in our lives which caused tremendous damage to ourselves.

Believing these terrible things about who we were and are, is how I define the word shame. It is the foundation for most of what needs to be healed in us. Shame reinforces within us that we are unworthy or unacceptable. It bolsters our beliefs that somehow we have no value or a long list of other contrived reasons.

Shame is what keeps us in these dark places; convincing us that we are unworthy of better things. But these thoughts only happened because we honestly thought they were true. Now we must forgive ourselves for believing them which will ultimately allow the healing to begin.

Two years ago, I completed a book about my journey titled, “Shame On Me: Healing a Life of Shame-Based Thinking”. It details how my therapist helped me understand that nearly all of my problems stemmed from the incredible shame that permeated the first 52 years of my life. Needless to say it was an incredible, cathartic experience and one which set me on a path to help others find a similar experience.

In the next article, I plan to discuss more ideas about forgiveness and no doubt respond to some of the comments this article is bound to instigate. Please feel free to leave your comments; especially if your experience is different from mine.

My thanks to Zac Boca for the amazing picture from Unsplash.

Steps Towards Healing

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Artwork by HDWallpaperFX.com

“Healing from past adversities, provides a firm foundation on which personal growth will maintain and flourish.”

After writing several posts on kindness and the myriad virtues it embodies (click here to read the last one), I was reminded by one of my favorite connections, Chulee H, that many times we are confronted by completely opposite behaviors. These damaging actions have the  potential of creating life-long emotional as well as physical scars. Nearly all of us have had to deal with these types of situations which potentially can haunt us for decades. Yet with so many people trying to cope with these occurrences, why isn’t there more talk and concern about how to heal from them?

It confounds me that healing is not the biggest topic of interest for those working in the mental health and personal growth industry. HEALING IS VERY RARELY DISCUSSED! But, it needs to be the first step a person makes when endeavoring to overcome these struggles from the past.

There have been numerous crusades against bullying, harassment, and abuse, as there should be. Yet, try to think of one single campaign that was centered around healing. It absolutely takes a lot of guts and fortitude to stand up to an abuser. For centuries, countless people have hidden in the shadows with frightening and appalling stories of cruelty and shame. Thankfully, more are now taking a stand and campaigns such as the #Metoo movement continue to inspire many who in years past, would have remained silent and humiliated.

It is important that efforts are made to stop these types of behaviors but it is equally important that anyone who has suffered or is suffering currently from abuse, knows that healing is possible! However, if it is not being addressed then healing is either deemed unimportant or its significance is not recognized.

It is my contention that most don’t really understand its value nor do they know how to teach it to others. Perhaps their own experiences facilitated enough healing for their success, but they never developed a process which provided it to others.

At times, others make feeble attempts at healing by telling someone to, “Put it behind you” or “Just get over it.” These are meaningless efforts when so-called experts have no clue how to help their clients. What exactly is the process for “getting over it” and doesn’t it stand to reason that if those people knew how to do it, they most certainly would? People don’t knowingly want to live in dark and damaged places. They need proper guidance on ways to heal so they can not simply survive but thrive.

I wrote a book about my own journey and how I was able to heal from some seemingly insurmountable issues. Fortunately, I met a therapist who was instrumental in both providing me tools of insight and helping me to utilize them in my life. While it is an on-going process, it has also inspired me to help others.

Next week, some of these techniques will be discussed; however, should you not want to wait, please feel free to leave a note in the comments or message me directly. Also, if you have any suggestions about healing, please share those as well, I look forward to learning other ways that have helped.

The One Thing Everyone needs to know about Kindness

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By Artist Oksana Rus – http://www.oksana-rus.com

“Kindness, like everything in Nature, continues to grow until it dies.”

Bring up the subject of kindness and there will be little disagreement that this world can always use more of it. However, what I learned about writing the last few articles on the subject (click here to read last week’s), was that many have a slightly different perspective on its uses and applications. Nevertheless, all of the responses indicated optimistic and uplifting actions.

Then what is the one thing that each of us should know and understand about kindness? 

First I have a confession to make. I am not a big fan of “The only thing you need to know…” headline because it is typically a quick and unimaginative attempt at grabbing readers’ attentions; however, it was precisely what I wanted to do here.

Prior to unveiling my answer, let’s approach that question from a slightly different angle. What steps could or should be taken to create a kinder world? What recommendations would you make for kindness to become more prevalent on this planet?

Certainly there are far too many examples of completely opposite behaviors.  Men and women who were entrusted to help lead us out of difficult times, are instead using name calling, divisive and degrading actions which will never yield the fruitful results they intended. These very same actions, no doubt, we would punish our children for using.

Which leads us back to “the one thing that everyone needs to know about kindness.” I wish it were as simple as the snap of a finger or shouting a magic word but the one thing we all need to know is this: it falls back on us! We, individually, must be the keepers and caretakers of kindness. We must be the perpetuators of this magnificent virtue.

If for one moment your solution was to expect others to change their behaviors, it is completely understandable; that type of thinking, however, can be a stumbling block to the problem. Trying to make others change is the same reasoning those elected officials emanate their appalling actions. Individually, each one of us needs to be the source and inspiration by our actions because they truly do speak louder than our words.

Additionally, wanting others to change could be an excuse not to do some introspection and soul-searching of our own. There is only one person on this planet whom we can change and that is our self . While we do have opportunities to influence and inspire others, that is also confirmed by, and with, our actions.

Kindness is a virtue which has no limits. If put into practice, it will only multiply. If bottled up, it will suffocate and die. This week, enrich your life by using kindness at some difficult moments and tell us about it in the comments.

My thanks to Oksana Rus for the beautiful painting. She can be found on LinkedIn and Facebook and her art can be purchased at etsy.com