Unless you’ve experienced clear-cut trauma, you may not think you are walking around with an emotional wound.
But emotional wounds are part of being human.
Normal human life includes betrayal, loss (visible and invisible), exclusion, criticism, insult, isolation …even if you grew up in a happy, loving home.
You may be tempted to think that your wound is not significant in comparison to that of war refugees or starving children. But just because it is not as serious does not mean that it doesn’t hurt or need healing. And, you are better available to help others after you’ve healed yourself.
How do you know if you are carrying an emotional wound?
Feeling lost or directionless or a lack of enthusiasm can be a sign of an unhealed emotional injury. It doesn’t mean that you have a mental illness; it just means that your emotional wound has gone untreated.
And that injury can keep you from moving toward (or even imagining) your right life.
How to clean your emotional wound and become strong in the broken places?
Find the emotional injury. Poke around in your memory and notice what feels painful, what you don’t want to talk about.
Find a listening ear. Find a person who: genuinely cares about you, is not pre-occupied by his or her own unhealed emotional injuries, is not afraid to talk about emotional issues, and can empathize with your pain without having to immediately “fix” it. This person is preferably a trained therapist or coach but could be a trusted friend. (If you’ve experienced trauma, including abuse, a qualified therapist is necessary). Tell your story, a bit at a time, to gauge your trust in the person. If you feel comfortable and understood, continue your story.
Tell everything. Tell the whole truth about the most painful experience(s) of your life. Take responsibility for your actions and uncover your painful feelings. Eventually, you will need to tell everything because the truth heals. This will take time. As we say in coaching, it’s like peeling an onion, layer by layer.
Accept compassion from another and offer it to your yourself. Accept as much compassion and you can handle. When you accept compassion from your trusted confidant, you allow for self-love. You allow yourself to nurture your own growth and care for yourself as you would a loved friend or family member.
Give yourself the gift of time. Embrace the grieving process (denial, anger, grief, acceptance) each time you experience an emotional wound. It may feel like a wild ride, but if you don’t clean that wound, you will stay in denial for a long time. Know that the healing takes place inside your own heart and mind, not out in the world where you may be tempted to confront the cause of the injury.
Self-love is the single most important tool you will ever use in your search for your own North Star - Martha Beck
This process will guide you into a state of emotional health where you may start to notice creative ideas, and levels of enthusiasm and energy you never experienced. Trust me. It’s magic to tell your story to a compassionate witness.
Would you like guidance in cleaning out an emotional wound? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a compassionate, non-judgmental ear.