Whether you are trying to improve a relationship, get through a divorce, heal past traumas, resolve family of origin issues, heal the inner child, or confront an addiction, you are suffering and seeking change.
Some people try to handle everything alone, while others turn to friends, some attend support groups, and some enter therapy.
There is a common tendency in all of us to make huge efforts to avoid facing our emotional pain. We really don’t want to do the work to process our feelings. How many times have you thought or said you “don’t want to look back,” to remember the pain from your childhood or past traumas, or “that’s just how I am, and I’m not going to change now?”
Some of you rhetorically ask, “What good will it do now?” and affirm that you are ‘over it.’ Basically, you don’t want to re-live it. In some cases, this is best, but in many cases, it is very beneficial to heal the pain.
It takes courage to seek help, admit your truth to someone else, enter therapy, walk into a 12-step meeting, and check into a treatment center. To consciously choose to heal and grow is a big and often a huge leap requiring a serious commitment and willingness to endure the pain.
John Bradshaw says, “In order to heal it, you must feel it.”
Fear of Change
Fear can either be a huge obstacle that obstructs your path, or you can acknowledge it and allow it to accompany you along your path, aware that you are afraid and aware that fear serves a purpose: to keep you alert and warn you of danger.
Fear can paralyze you if it loses proportion. It is helpful to name the fear, to know exactly what you are afraid of, and to determine the severity, the immediateness, or even if it’s real or imaginary.
Scott Peck, the author of The Road Less Traveled, wrote, “Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the making of action in spite of fear.”
Courage to Change and Heal
Courage is such a necessary component of healing, change, and personal growth that it can be found throughout books written on these subjects. A very famous book written for survivors of child sexual abuse written by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, is entitled ‘The Courage to Heal.’
Cherie Carter-Scott, author of If Life is a Game, These are the Rules, addresses it and defines courage as ‘finding the inner strength and bravery required to confront’ something and says that it is the “energy current behind all great actions.”
She reminds us that courage ‘resides deep within us’ and that it is the ‘intangible force’ that propels us forward. She states that ‘courage is learned in the moment that you take a leap of faith and take action’ and recommends that you ‘banish’ your fears so that you may ‘learn the lesson of courage and create the life you desire.’ (pp104-5)
Healing is the Goal
‘Healing’ is defined as a restoration to a state of wholeness and well-being. It is a lifelong process. Healing takes courage. It is a process you must go through, not around.
To heal and restore balance, we must heal emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. The healing process is letting go, which requires forgiveness and compassion for yourself and others.
Tian Dayton devoted an entire daily affirmation book to this process, entitled Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On. In it, she reminds us: “Forgiveness and letting go are part of our road to happiness. We deserve to move on. We need not be held hostage to our pasts. Only we can ultimately free ourselves. To forgive someone else is to forgive myself. We forgive because it restores to us a sense of inner balance. The process of forgiving, letting go, and moving on requires a willingness to know one’s own truth and the courage and strength to feel pain that has been hidden in silence.”
Integrate Thoughts and Feelings
True healing takes place from the inside out, not just on the surface. Healing isn’t just the scab that forms over a cut. Emotional healing requires the connection and integration of the mind and the heart, of the thoughts and feelings.
Healing brings resolution, relief, and peace. The burden is lifted, and things are lighter. Lessons, insights, and personal growth are its gifts.
Change is Good
Change is inevitable. It is a fact of life. We have a choice to fight against the current or accept and go with the flow, to fight it or embrace it. Change must be faced with an open mind and an open heart.