If you’ve made it to this page, you’re probably feeling a little lost, confused, maybe even angry and bitter. That’s okay. I’ve been where you’re sitting right now, In fact, I still play musical chairs with the spot you’re in right this very moment. First, Let me start off by saying, healing isn’t this mystical thing that only happens to the few lucky souls who manage to find it. Healing isn’t impossible. It’s far more possible than you might realize, it just takes effort, persistence, and motivation. This will not be a journey you walk straight through. This will be a maze of hurt, confusion, tricks your mind plays, and more. You brain is going to fight you every step of the way. It’s used to hurting. Hurting becomes comfortable. Growth and healing becomes terrifying.
There are roughly five stages of healing. For some it’s more or less, but for the most part, these are the five:
- Suffering. In this state, you are denying your emotions. You are in a constant state of misery and you either feel numb, or your emotions consume you.
- Awareness. This is where you acknowledge your emotions, and let yourself feel them. Sit with them, and then release them when they are ready to go.
- Confrontation. Here, you will confront your emotions head on, facing your fears and worries.
- Expression. Talk about what you’re feeling. Let yourself cry when you’re sad. Let yourself scream into a pillow when you’re angry. Express the emotions you’ve been hiding from for so long.
- Acceptance. In this state, you are capable of controlling your emotions. They do not consume you anymore, and you are able to regulate yourself. Anxiety has lessened or disappeared completely, and you are no longer negatively affected in your day to day life.
If you’re anything like me, you get stuck at the awareness stage. Yeah, I acknowledge what I’m feeling, I know it sucks, I know its unhealthy. But what next? How do you confront your own mind? It’s easier said than done.
How do you confront the very essence of your being? How do I show myself love, empathy, and grace, while also condemning the deeply seeded beliefs I have about myself?
I’m still trying to figure that part out myself, but I do know that I will get there one day with strength, courage, and will.
I will go over some of the steps I’ve learned in therapy, to begin the healing process. These are NOT things I have mastered, and I would never present myself of a perfect example of healing, because I am not. These are simply skills you can begin to work on, in order to start your healing journey.
- Recognize your emotions. Give them a name. If you’re struggling with identifying the emotions you’re feeling, take a look at a feelings wheel like this one pictured below.
- What is the source of the pain? What is at the root of your hurt? When this this pain begin? Who is associated with it? When was the last time you remember NOT feeling this pain? Write it all out in a journal, a notebook, hell, a scrap piece of paper will do. Just get it out.
- Understand your emotional wounds. How severe are your emotional wounds? How do they negatively impact your life? WHERE do you feel these feelings physically?
- Look at the positives AND the negatives. It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but try to point out the positives to. Who has been a light in your life? What lessons have you learned from your emotional pain?
- Express your emotions and pain. Whether that be to a trusted friend or family member, or to a mental health professional, you NEED to express your pain. You need to let yourself feel your emotions. You need to let yourself cry. Let yourself get angry (as long as its not at the expense of others). Healing cannot happen without understanding. Understanding cannot happen without letting yourself feel.
- Redefine what you want your healing to look like. Where do you want your life to be? How do you want your situation to change? What steps can you realistically take to make these changes?
- Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of being in the present moment, being aware of your surroundings, and being aware of your emotional and physical needs and well being. It is imperative that you stay impartial to your own experience. Do not let your doubts, worries, or biases take over. You must learn to trust yourself and your experiences.
- Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. Forgive yourself for the ways you tried to heal. You are human, and you deserve kindness and grace. This does not mean you have to ignore your negative or toxic traits. You can forgive yourself for something while also acknowledging that you need to grow.
Its important to note, that while forgiving yourself is important for healing, you are NEVER obligated to forgive those who hurt you.
The healing process takes time, there will be loss of tears, there will be frustration. You may feel completely alone at times. But its important that you keep going. With empathy, integrity, and self acceptance, healing is always possible.