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Respecting our Healing Process

September 16th,2013

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Being in touch with our feelings is extremely important, more so if we are going through a traumatic life event.

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Everybody at some point in life is faced with a more or less traumatic event of any sort, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a divorce, an accident, a health challenge, a job loss, etc. Any event that creates a certain level of trauma and stress will produce feelings of grief, failure, guilt, despair, hopelessness, anger, etc. and it is very important to acknowledge those feelings in order to process them in a healthy way.

Sometimes I feel that in this fast-speed, efficiency-driven, brain-dominant, type-A culture, people tend to dismiss or ignore those processes. I often hear people's reactions to their own grief or that of others and I am appalled at how little connection they have to their emotional needs, let alone that of others. No matter how hard life hits them, some people are just not in touch with their feelings, and that can only create further damage in their psyche and their physical health.

Although it is true that some people are more or less sensitive, we are all human, and we all need to go through these emotional processes, no matter what. In order to start healing we need to acknowledge our feelings, respect them, allow them to be, and give ourselves the time we need to heal. Instead, the tendency is often to dismiss, escape and ignore the process by using diversion and denial.

I often see people treat emotional processes with the coldness of a corporate executive decision, with a matter-of-fact attitude; thinking that they can just move on, make an effort, try harder, forget about it, and rebound almost unscathed.

The truth is, we can only move on in a healthy way, if we allow ourselves to go through the process of healing our heart first. If we do not allow this natural process to take place, we are only setting ourselves up for further suffering. Our brain and our heart work at a different speed, and in a brain-dominant culture, we do not give the heart a chance and the time to really heal.

Our brain constantly tells us to DO, DO, and DO, whereas our heart tells us to just BE. So, if you are going through a difficult time, remember to just BE and try to stop the compulsive doing and the compulsive thinking, this will help you connect to your heart and to your feelings. Our brain often forces us to jump into the next thing without allowing proper healing, and although we may find some distraction from our process in doing that, we are not being true to our needs.

Also, in a brain-driven culture people find it hard to just BE with the pain of others, they feel the constant need to fix it, to give advice, to divert them from their pain; instead we should learn to hold someone in pain, with respect and presence, nothing else.

By being aware of your emotional healing process I do not suggest you sink into despair and shut yourself off completely, such an extreme reaction could happen in the presence of depression though, and depression can definitely appear following a traumatic life event, so it is important to be aware of it and seek professional help if needed. But what I mean is rather to be mindful of everything around you and acknowledge your feelings, take one day at a time and respect your own rhythm and timing, do not "force" anything.

No matter what people around you, or your own busy brain says, try to disconnect from your thoughts and the external pressures of others, in order to connect to your feelings and needs. Whatever you do, do not ignore your feelings, it will only hurt you more in the end.

Sometimes people don't "feel" anything, or they think they are not affected by a given event, but this is a problem because the emotions are usually there no matter what, and if they are not "felt" chances are they are stuck somewhere in our bodies and will cause physical discomfort or even health problems, so it is important to watch out for those body clues, as they may be signs that there are emotions that need to be acknowledged.

There are many ways that can help your healing, but first and foremost you need to be aware, be patient and be loving with yourself. You can use meditation to quiet your mind and connect to your heart, you can practice body-mind disciplines like yoga, Thai-Chi, Qigong, etc., you can reach out to friends and family for support and help, or you could reach out for professional help if needed.

Whatever you do, don't be afraid of grief, it is important to acknowledge it, respect it, and process it. If you honor your healing process and its timing, you will be able to learn from it, find true peace and move on effectively.

Have a good week!

 

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