A Healing Distraction

“Can being productive be a diversion from the true goal”?

Every person who embarks on a journey of emotional healing will experience a unique path. When mine began I had no idea where it would lead but I can now truly be thankful for where it has taken me. Along the way, it awakened a purpose and a dedication to compel others to begin their own. My experience was so liberating that I wish everyone could catch a glimpse of what it has meant.

Although the journey continues, this does not imply that now it is only smooth sailing from here forward. I make it a daily goal to continue with some aspect of healing or spiritual growth. However, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is easy to get distracted from this intention. In fact, distractions are one of the main reasons people reach barriers in their lives that suppress or even halt the healing process.

Distractions come in many forms. The more obvious ones are plain to see. The stories of people turning to drugs or alcohol to help forget their pain are numerous. Sometimes the hurt is not that bad and the memories can be swiftly dashed from our thoughts. Those who are more self-motivated may bury themselves in their work or a hobby forcing and focusing their concentration away from those hurtful thoughts. Although the pain from the abuse seems to diminish or disappear, that does not mean it’s being healed.

The healing process often requires us to face some of these issues head on. This involves reliving some of those agonizing memories even though that is precisely what we want to avoid. The moment we have to face them, the pain causes us to instinctively take action to remove them from our thoughts. Rather than succumbing to detrimental behavior such as alcohol or drugs, some turn to positive actions to help relieve the grief.

In no way am I implying that anyone who focuses on positive actions is undertaking the wrong action or is no different from an addict. I am rooting for anyone searching and striving for ways to heal. However, no amount of good works will purchase lasting, emotional healing. It does make us feel better but if it merely distracts us from the pain, it has not been healed.

Likewise, many victims of abuse have begun organizations helping others who have suffered similarly. Their dedication is selfless; bestowing incredible fortune on thousands. Nonetheless, they may still be experiencing and reliving their personal traumas.

I wish there were a way healing could be purchased through acts of noble and altruistic endeavors. There is no question that positive action is far healthier and infinitely better than choosing substance abuse. But healing – actually experiencing an emotional liberation – can open a whole new understanding to life and what it offers.

If there is one thing this world needs more of, it would be healing. That can happen through compassion and helping others. We can make a difference by our good works. Nevertheless, when it comes to our own emotional healing, we need to examine closely the state of our mental condition.

If you have a question about something you’d like to heal in your own life, please feel free to reach out to me. After all, it is my passion to help. My thanks to Joseph Daniel of Unsplash for the beautiful picture. Find out more about him by clicking here. I look forward to your comments.

Healing insights

“A scar is a sign that a wound has tried to heal.”

The subject of healing is one of the most important topics we could ever discuss. It’s hard to imagine any person not having at least one episode from the past which needs healing. However, there are countless more who need to heal from horrific abuses and the good news is that it’s never too late to begin.

In last week’s article (click here to read it), the emphasis was placed on forgiving oneself for assuming that any abuse was somehow deserved. By simply acknowledging we had any responsibility for these cruel acts is the number one source for self-inflicted punishment.

When I discuss healing techniques with my clients, it’s vital that they understand how the healing occurs. When we get a cut on our skin or a broken bone, the body’s complex systems begin the healing process. Dressings or a splint may be applied to assist it but our skin and bones regenerate themselves. Our emotional capacity on the other hand, never developed this complicated process. Even more regrettable is that viable and helpful healing techniques are so rarely discussed; including by many mental health professionals.

Why is forgiving yourself an important step? Because we often blame ourselves for the abuses we’ve suffered. Self-forgiveness helps you realize those negative and shameful thoughts we developed were not true and this acknowledgement brings a feeling of relief.

Another valuable approach to healing is joining a support group. People are encouraged to reach out to those with similar experiences and share their stories. Often our abuses leave us feeling overwhelmed with shame and we compound that by thinking that no one wants to hear our sad stories. Getting it off our chest, however, is a huge relief and a proverbial weight is lifted from our shoulders. Noticing that someone else has struggled with a similar plight takes away feelings of isolation and helps us feel more included and welcomed which is another step in emotional healing.

I believe one of the biggest challenges we face as human beings is that many veritable techniques for healing are ideals which our ethnic and religious backgrounds have shunned or taught us were wrong! There are innumerable stories of abuse by a family relative or friend that were kept silent for any number of senseless and shame-filled reasons. Typically, exonerating the abuser and leaving the victim feeling even more shameful; all but nullifying any chance for recovery.

We are also taught that thinking about ourselves is generally a selfish act which can make it extremely difficult for some to take that crucial step of self-forgiveness. Anytime forgiveness is mentioned it’s always directed toward someone else. Although it may be helpful eventually to forgive the abuser, forcing a victim in the early stages of the healing process to forgive an abuser can be devastating and actually produce harm.

Perhaps there are abuses in your past and you really want to heal but are afraid, embarrassed, or any number of reasons keeping you from that first step. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to reach out to me and see what techniques I can recommend. Everyone deserves an opportunity to emotionally repair and rebuild so life can be lived to its fullest potential.

Thanks to Dana Cohen of DLEIGHDESIGN, for the beautiful picture. I look forward to your comments.

Steps to emotional healing

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

“Although wounds can heal sometimes a scar is left behind.”

There is nothing more crucial for a wound than healing; that goes for both physical and mental ones. Last week’s article was the first in a series that discussed this crucial subject (click here to read it). But what are the first steps towards this essential and vital action?

The dictionary defines healing as: to make sound or whole; to make well again. From an emotional viewpoint, this would be a phenomenal result. No doubt there are countless people who recall incidents from their pasts which have troubled, distressed, or even haunted them to this day. Some may have exhausted all their efforts searching for solutions and found nothing but vague or insufficient advice to help them become “well again”.

I wish there were a simple step-by-step formula we all could follow and heal those injuries but if that were the case, someone would have already discovered it. The healing journey, as in life’s journey, is different for each one of us. Thankfully, there are common elements which aid us in this seemingly elusive task.

My wounds did not occur from physical events but rather a series of emotional ones which at the time, I had no clue were doing any harm or damage. One common denominator with most abuses is that they are done to us by others. However, the way I chose to deal with it was to believe that somehow, I deserved it or was unworthy of something better.

My abuse was done by someone whom I held in the highest respect and even though it may not have been his intentions, the impact was terribly devastating because I believed the horrendous things he said which browbeat and intimidated me for the next several decades.

The solution was to forgive myself for accepting all of those awful spoken words. At that time, I was convinced there was no other choice but to concede that everything he told me was true. Those negative thoughts not only stayed with me but accumulated over time. When I finally understood all that shame was not true and not who I was, I could forgive myself for ever swallowing those terrible thoughts about myself.

Yes, this was my journey and although it may not resonate with you, ask yourself did you ever once believe that your abuses were warranted? Was there one time when you thought, “I somehow deserved it”? If that is the case, I highly recommend rereading the previous three paragraphs and tell yourself, “No, I NEVER deserved any of it”!

Every kind of abuse is appalling and the pain we undergo while it is happening is something we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. However, if there was ever a miniscule belief that in some small way it was deserved, that is the beginning of self-inflicted, emotional abuse. Since we generated those false thoughts, we can also forgive ourselves for doing so in the first place.

Helping others heal is my passion and I am dedicating my life to learn how to become more effective at doing so. Please share your thoughts and ways you have been able to heal from your struggles. My thanks to Tim Gouw for the wonderful picture.

The Healing Begins

Photo by Dana Cohen of DLEIGHDESIGN

“If a wound does not heal, there is no telling what damage may occur.”

The start of a new year brings more than just a host of resolutions. For some, it signals more of a renaissance, a resurgence, or even a reawakening of the mind, body and soul. Those who’ve set out with this type of mindset should be warmly applauded. Typically, a change of this sort requires hard work and the rewards rarely arrive in a timely manner.

There are also those who choose not to even try such an undertaking. Perhaps in the past, they did attempt but no matter how hard they struggled, something – almost mystical – seemed to thwart each and every attempt. As much as they aspire to change, there seem to be no solutions viable enough to help with any kind of transformation.

In my case, the solution was hidden for many years because what needed to occur first was healing from past difficulties. There had been plenty of incidents in my life that significantly influenced me to think there was something innately wrong with who I was. It was as though I deserved bad things to happen to me and nothing could be done to stop it. This belief is how I define the word shame.

The shame which accumulated over the years ultimately created a feeling of normalcy. While the pain would eventually decrease, it also meant the absence of shame felt awkward and not “normal”; an environment in which it was able to thrive. The only way I could overcome this was to heal from the past abuses and injuries.

Fortunately, I found a phenomenal therapist who was able to help me understand this issue and provide me with tools to start my healing process. It began in early 2013 and since then, helping others heal has been a passion of mine and a driving force in my life.

If there is any hope for a cut or scrape not to become infected it needs to heal. Fortunately, these abrasions are usually quite simple to spot and take a proper course of action. Emotional wounds, on the other hand, are difficult to see and often avoided because of the pain suffered when we do.

Emotional healing is a critical and vital subject yet there seems to be very little discussion and even less valuable advice on how it is done. Nearly all of us have had some difficulty in our past which has generated some sort of devastating impression. While many have been able to work through it, proper healing may have provided much more satisfying results.

It is my belief that many in the mental health profession don’t understand the benefits of healing nor do they know how to properly provide the tools and techniques which generate proper healing. Simply avoiding those moments or getting them out of our mind is not healing and although you’ve heard differently, time does NOT heal all wounds.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing ways of healing from past abuses and if you would like to share any personal stories, please feel free to do so in the comment portion. However, if you’d rather not wait and want to begin your healing journey immediately, feel free to contact me. After all, that is my passion.

Thanks to Dana Cohen for the wonderful picture. Find out more about her by clicking here.