I think the most difficult challenge we face on our journey through life is undoing the emotional damage we experienced growing up. It affects us on so many levels: our health, our finances, our careers and our relationships.
We have all experienced some form of emotional pain at some point in our life from being abused, criticized, left out, harshly punished, abandoned, teased, bullied, embarrassed, humiliated, witnessing a tragedy, losing a friend or family member, and many other forms of mistreatment and trauma.
Undoing this damage [certainly in my experience] is not an simple task. Actually, before you can begin to undo it, you first need to be aware of it. I became aware of the role of unresolved emotional pain only after being referred to a One Brain Therapy therapist by the massage therapist I was seeing. And that was over 20 years ago! I’ve been at this for a long time, which is why I’m very comforted by the line from novel, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, by Richard Bach … “How can you tell when you no longer have [healing] work to do? When you are no longer here!”
Undoing the damage, in my experience, is generally a four-step process involving awareness, forgiveness, expression and reprogramming.
Awareness means understanding that we are spiritual beings on spiritual journeys, here in physical form, in order to achieve spiritual growth. It means knowing that we’re here to become conscious of who we really are and why we’re really here on the planet, and that our unpleasant experiences are part of the process. Indeed, it is these unpleasant experiences that quite often cause us to pause and ask why and go in search of the answer.
Forgiveness involves forgiving those who damaged us, be they parents, siblings, schoolyard bullies, friends, relatives, teachers or whomever. We forgive based on the knowledge that those who damaged us were not living consciously and did not feel good about themselves. And we forgive based on the knowledge that we had agreements on a soul level with those who damaged us or hurt us in the manner in which they did. And we forgive based on the awareness that the unpleasant experience we had with this person was a necessary part of our spiritual growth. Without it, we wouldn’t be the person we are today!
The same holds true for ourselves. If we hurt others, we need to forgive ourselves for the pain we caused, for the exact same reason we forgive others. If possible, we can also apologize to those we mistreated. Always remember this, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, because it frees you from anger, bitterness, guilt and hatred.
Expression involves talking about our experiences and expressing how we feel, objectively, without falling into victimhood. It might also mean screaming into a pillow or punching a pillow. It could also mean speaking directly with the person[s] who hurt us.
We reprogram by using positive affirmations and self talk to create new neural pathways in the brain. This step is critically important because emotions are created by thoughts and in order to help dissolve the emotion, we need to replace the negative thought with something positive. Positive thoughts must be repeated over and over until the new neural pathway is firmly in place and the synapse connecting the neural pathway for the old thought is dissolved.
Undoing the damage is an essential aspect of the healing process. Whatever emotional pain you’re holding onto, be it fear, guilt, grief, shame, bitterness or anger, must be dissolved. It will expedite your recovery!
Have an awesomely healing day!