Emotional wounds are the results of the painful experiences we have experienced throughout our lives. These wounds can be multiple and are known by many different names: humiliation, mistrust, betrayal, injustice, abandonment, etc. In order for us to properly heal we must become aware of our wounds instead of covering them up. The longer one waits to start the healing process the more acute the wounds get. It is important to recognize that when we are wounded we tend to constantly experience or perceive situations which touch our wounds in a negative way, causing many of us to put on multiple masks in order not to relive the pain.
The healing of wounds is marked by stages. These stages are very important in order to heal our emotional wounds:
Accepting our wounds as part of us can be very beneficial as it will help us to accept ourselves unconditionally instead of trying to be someone else. You may or may not want to agree with the fact that your wounds are real; however the first step towards healing starts with accepting the possibility to look at your wounds and recognize them as real events in your life which took a toll on you and left their mark. Accepting our wounds means having the courage to take a look at them, to examine them closely and knowing part of the human experience is having to encounter situations which will need to be resolved and wounds which will need to be healed.
Having wounds does not make you worst than anyone else; don’t punish yourself for having built walls to protect you. At its time it was a heroic act, those walls protected you from the environment/situation which damaged you, however those walls have already fulfilled their function; now they are hindering you, they are keeping you from living a fulfilling life. Believe me, the longer you keep them up the harder they will get to tear down; we become prisoners of the walls which were meant to protect us. When something happens that reopens your wounds, instead of running take a good look at them, once you can see them its time to start thinking about healing them.
Accept the fact that you are powerful. What you accept or reproach falls under your will power. The will and the decision to overcome our wounds are the first steps towards patience, compassion and a better, deeper understanding of ourselves. As you develop these qualities for yourself, you will also develop them for others, as a result you will experience a healthier, happier you. Sometimes unconsciously we impose our expectations on others, waiting for them to fill our gaps, to fulfill our hopes, to heal us, to do the work for us. Having others being there to offer support, to help you walk through things, to respect your pace or the things which you may need in order to keep moving forward in the healing process is not the same as expecting others to do the work that is require of each one of us. This type of attitude can damage our relationships and much of our lives, generating great discomfort because others can’t understand as we would like them to or don’t react the way we expect them to.
Give yourself permission to get angry towards those who caused or fueled your wounds. Anger is not the same as hate. Anger has its positive side; it can bring healing with it. You are not a robot, you are human and you have the right to experience anger towards an event, someone who changed your life; however if you choose to remain fixed on it, then you become a slave to your own anger.
The more we have been hurt, the deeper the wounds. It is natural and humane to be angry towards those who hurt us, specially when the damage was great and the wounds run deep. Give yourself permission to be angry and forgive yourself for feeling so. To hide the anger and pretend you can simply forgive is not forgiveness at all. True forgiveness happens when our wounds have been cleaned and healed. To supress our anger can cause us to vent on innocent people for the actions of someone else. This type of behavior can create resentment towards your own self and others; the resentment and guilt will only eat more at your wounds, paralyzing you from moving forward. Feeling guilty towards yourself hinders forgiveness; getting rid of that guilt and resentment are the only ways towards healing your wounds; anger in the right form facilitates that process.
It is also necessary to forgive, however most of us miss the fact that forgiveness tends to fluidly happen as we give ourselves permission to experience our locked emotions vs hiding them. Forgiveness is easier to achieve when we ourselves recognize our own inability to move through life without hurting others ( I am not talking about extreme cases, such as rape, murder, constant physical or emotional abuse). We are all human and we all make mistakes, sometimes we fail to recognize our own shortcomings yet expect others to be perfect. We may also fail to accept certain events in our lives were meant to unfold as they did to promote our own growth spirituality or test our own beliefs about ourselves and others.
The transcending of our wounds will not be possible if we do not accept how real our emotional wounds are. Many people tend to hide the wounds which hurt the most as there is fear of reliving the pain. We can cease being ourselves if we wear masks as they will only aggravate the consequences of not dealing with our emotional wounds. Our ego can create a highly effective protective barrier to hide our troubles, our wounds, trying to convince us not to deal with them, to ignore them, to pretend they don’t exist. If we fall into that trap we fail to gain the wisdom of the lesson hidden behind each emotional wound. The ego likes to promote the easy way out when in fact this simply complicates our lives more. This is not to say our ego is bad or unnecessary, but when our ego rules our emotional health instead of the other way around, the repercussions can be quite damaging. Even though looking at our wounds and working on them can be painful, the end result can simplify our lives by providing clarity in our thinking process, self reflection and better reactions to adverse actions.
Take time to observe how you have become attached to your wounds. The ideal is to get rid of all our masks as soon as possible without judging or criticizing ourselves; this will allow us to identify how we should treat our wounds in order to heal them. Ideally you will take the time to look at your wounds and identify why in the first place did you put the mask on. Only then will you be on your way towards healing; your guide will be the emotion you’ll experience of feeling good without hiding.
“The deepest pain I ever felt was denying my own feelings to make everyone else comfortable”