How do we jump-start emotional healing? “You can't heal what you don't feel” is a quote I love. Sometimes our emotional wounds are so deep that we don’t want to feel them. Sometimes past events are so painful that we try to avoid thinking about them. But the reality is that, despite our best efforts to ignore them, those wounds will still be there, buried, and they can take a physical toll on us. To truly recover and move past the pain, we must know how to jump-start emotional healing.
Emotional healing is a form of grieving that follows a slightly different process than other types of grieving. Grief experts generally recognize five stages for fully grieving: denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance. This isn’t a hard-and-fast formula as it’s more fluid when we heal through these stages individually. We may go back and forth between them before fully healing.
For those of us with emotional wounds, there's been enough denial—maybe even a lifetime of denying and not facing the hurt and pain. There's likely also been plenty of bargaining with the other person, trying to gain favor or love, be better, do better, or do more; anything to win the other person's approval. Maybe we’ve even been bargaining with ourselves in some way. And anger? That’s likely been stuffed down or completely ignored, not even recognized as an emotion. You may have even been taught that anger is bad and should never be felt at all, so you completely denied your right to be angry and hurt. Anger, like any other emotion, is just the body’s signal that a boundary has been overstepped. It's a very necessary emotion that protects us from harm. And depression? Hmm . . . we’ve likely spent plenty of time with that one too.
Since many of us wishing to heal emotionally have spent a lifetime in one or more of these stages, we can move on to the final stage: acceptance. This is the quickest path to emotional healing. What does acceptance mean?
Acceptance begins with acknowledging that things in your past have been difficult. You’re not alone. Sometimes we remember sad things. You may have been bullied or ridiculed. You may have had a situation where someone's words did not match their actions—perhaps they expressed love verbally, but physically and emotionally they were not very loving at all. As children, we deserve to be nurtured and feel safe. As adults, we are worthy of respect from one another as humans.
So the key to acceptance is this: Let go of the expectation that the person who hurt you will ever be anything different than who they are at this moment in time. Even if this person is no longer living, fully accept they were who they were and that it's not your fault. Fully accept that you have no control over others. Just as you have no control over that other person, they have no control over you unless you grant them that power. Let go of the expectation that interaction with this person will be any different than it has been in the past. Set them free, and in the process, set yourself free: free to heal, free to breathe, free to live. Now you can begin your healing journey.
Tools for Healing
One final note . . . our sense of smell interacts directly with the memory and emotional centers of the brain. Learning how to leverage this was my key to learning how to get in touch with my inner world and recognize and stabilize my emotions. That's why I became a certified aromatherapist and help other people unlock their inner world too.
Awareness of the emotions in the body and the thoughts creating the emotions is a good first step. If you haven't seen it already, listen to the replay of the Emotional Balance Intro. It's free and I'm here to support and empower your healing.
Here's a great visual representation of how to build awareness and start to heal based on the concepts in the free intro workshop. Grab the workshop to gain a deeper understanding and jump-start your healing.
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Learn more · Watch this complimentary video to level up your emotional balance and healing journey TODAY when you learn the concept in this first video of the three part series. If you would like to chat about your healing journey and your next steps, just message me and mention this post.