Healing — a how-to guide on how to heal from deep emotional wounds.
A step-by-step approach to finding hope for the future.
Healing from emotional pain is a daunting task… what do you mean I need to feel like crap for ages to heal? No way I’m doing that. But we must, no matter how much we deny it, life helps us do it.
I discovered that emotional pain caused by trauma is the result of the infliction of fear and suffering — quite the obvious discovery, but bear with me. The truth is, we find our way through mental health diagnoses, and we find ourselves lost in how many therapists, coaches, and healers can we go through until the healing actually happens. And not to diss therapists, coaches and healers, the fact is… I’m a coach and healer who goes to therapy and it’s okay. I find it helpful to have people to talk to, and others to help in their journeys.
When the pain comes from trauma, the baseline is fear and suffering — and in it, we find salvation if we want. Nothing like healing suffering to eventually reach enlightenment, our Buddha nature, or our souls. It’s the goal, right? Not really, we just want the pain to stop.
Suffering from the effects of sexual, emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial abuse, I came out to the other side in a state of shock that lasted almost a decade. I’m now coming out of it full of discoveries to share. When those we love and trust the most turn their backs on our wellbeing, we begin to question God’s love for us. We become bittersweet, wanting to trust not really trusting, wanting faith not really faithful.
In my early adolescence, I discovered the horrors of terror and violence, and it became increasingly obvious to me that I needed to just survive until it was all over — I stayed in this state of barely here for two decades. And I climbed out of it, and here I am to let you know that not only healing is possible, but it’s also quite achievable in a short amount of time.
Let's go step by step.
- First, discover your self-love. Find out what you love about yourself, what makes you unique, and what others love about you. Find out why you matter. Find your strengths and learn to love your flaws and perceived weaknesses.
- The first wound we need to realize is, that it all started with self-abandonment. It is not a question of blame, guilt, or fault. It’s quite possible a forced self-abandonment, a not seeing a way out of our realities of needing to survive what was around us. This self-abandonment will look differently for everyone, for me, it began with turning my back on my wellbeing for the sake of surviving an impossible situation. It may seem similar to you, but circumstances are widely variable. Then from this point on, discover and examine ourselves in light of what this self-abandonment brought to our lives and deeply, radically, utterly, accept that it happened and that we were powerless to change it. Self-abandoned brings with it two caveats, one is the self-trust aspect, we cease to be self-reliable. Second is trust in a higher power, a higher power seemingly proves itself to be unreliable as well. To solve this, we must accept two realities: the first one is that we were powerless. To the second one, those who caused us harm are actually the further away from being God possible. It’s really easy to blame a higher power for all the issues, and forget all the blessings when we are suffering.
- Ignite positivity. I had to force myself to start positive affirmations because nothing else was working — not antidepressants, not jokes, not comedies, not being with friends, not pool and sun, nothing was working. For me, affirmations were one of the keys to understanding a lot of spiritual stuff and a lot of self-concepts. Quite an interesting journey.
- After dealing with self-abandonment, we need to develop self-compassion. This is the first step to taking responsibility for ourselves, our environments, our actions and reactions, and our own happiness. When we begin to understand that life is not out to get us, then we start understanding that we are safe already.
- Feeling safety. We need to embody safety, and that can only arise by rebuilding our self-reliability — if you are not self-reliable, you won’t ever be safe in your own body. And here we begin to also trust life again because we are manifesting ourselves into existence if we can’t trust our own heartbeats, our lungs breathing and our minds thinking, our bodies feeling, we have a disruption in our state of survival — and we won’t feel safe no matter how many self-defense classes we take, trust me I know.
- Being reliable for ourselves makes us reliable in our environments as well. Step 4 is all about learning how to accept what is around us, the current circumstances of our lives, and the karma (or consequence of past decisions and choices). Also, learning how to accept those who are around us as they are, and make transitions to better pastures as easy as possible — considering their limitations and our own limitations, and creating healthy boundaries.
- Learning how to trust life again. I can’t really stress this enough: having a strong, safe, healing, feeling of a higher power, no matter how secret it may be, a benign idea of God will save your ass. Learning how to trust in a higher power again is one of the safest ways to go back to basics and learn how to love yourself again. You are life manifesting itself, anyway, so it's better to learn how to love it back.
- Dealing with fear is never easy, but quite possible to do it fast enough. To pay homage to a friend: just feel it and get it done with. Pull that bandaid. Allow it to be in your body and to release itself. I added Yoga and walking for about an hour a day to add to the release and relaxation, the feeling of wellbeing. Dealing with fear is dealing with the baseline of what trauma has caused you, and all that comes with it…
- Enter journaling. And again, I can’t stress this enough: the power of writing for your well-being is so underrated in our society is scary. Just vent, allow the words to pour out. A good tip is to deal with your trauma in writing for 4 straight days at a time. Connect the events with how you feel and what you think, and then rest, have fun, release pent-up energy, and allow the integration of healing to occur.
- Gently, add letters of self-forgiveness. Forgive yourself for allowing, for choices you’ve made, for decisions you regret, for feeling bad, for abandoning yourself, for succumbing to fear, forgive yourself for everything possible — even if you rationally know it’s not your fault. Those pesky feelings of shame and embarrassment come up in ways that often lead to unmanageable anger, and so forth. Just deal with the causes of your frustration. Even if it seems silly. I had to forgive myself for some decisions I made as a child because I felt the weight of them on me. Once I did, I understood on a core level that I wasn’t to blame.
- If you can, forgive those who hurt you but didn’t mean to in this stage. Those who added to your well-being but still are human and make mistakes.
- Here, go back to healing your relationship with your higher power. The power of forgiveness is so huge, that it can only come from one source, and that is why… if you need to ask for the courage and strength to forgive yourself — you know where to turn.
- Entering the unknown realms of emotional pain, allow yourself to heal suffering. Begin by finding the root causes, and deal with them in ways that you find possible — my advice is to start this, once point 10 is well established. Healing suffering does not mean that suffering will be completely gone, it just means you’ll learn how to cope with it. Trauma has the caveat of us not being able to erase the past, so it’s best to just accept it and move on. Acceptance, forgiveness, compassion. Self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, self-compassion. And journal a lot.
- Find a spiritual practice that you can follow. For me, I include it in my writing. I burn incense. I pray. I meditate. I do yoga. I close my eyes and breathe. For some, closing your eyes and breathing may feel like it’s enough.
- For this next part, start by allowing yourself to gently and safely let go of the past. EFT is a good choice, Reiki. But also, just building self-confidence can be enough. To know your worth and live up to it, is enough.
- Raise-your-f’ing-standards-ffs. Raise them to unattainable levels in all areas of your life. Trust me, it can hurt at first, but it will pay off in dividends and tenfold. Raise those standards so high that even you need to grow up to them. And never, ever, allow others to tell you to lower them so you can fit their agendas into your healing and progress. If you are meant to heal completely, no doctor, therapist, family member, or loved one, can tell you it’s impossible. And you will heal. Keep those standards high, particularly when everyone seems to be far away from you and when those you love and have loved for decades seem to have nothing to do with your life. When you feel most alone and vulnerable, keep them higher. Don’t falter, no caving.
- Understand, research, and invite into your life, knowledge about what happened and keeps happening to you and your body, while you store all that trauma. Research, research, research. Know more than your doctors, and educate them. That will weed out a few idiots.
- While educating yourself, learn how to be in tune with your own needs — learn how to respond to them accurately. Learn how to take care of yourself, eat well, smoke less, drink almost nothing, and exercise, and this is just the bare minimum. Learn what is self-care for you and allow yourself to be your own caregiver — again, can’t stress enough the importance of this. Being able to take care of ourselves is what is missing when we have childhood trauma, and that is something we need to learn how to do.
- Keep track of your progress here and celebrate how far you’ve come. Really, allow yourself the joy of feeling like it’s possible to heal. Have a conversation with your doctor or therapist about adjusting medication if you feel the need, and allow yourself to feel the healing happening. See the light at the end of the tunnel.
- Now, here is the perfect time to deal with limiting beliefs. Even if you dealt with them before, go over them again, and see what still feels that it needs healing. Here you’ll have the clarity to allow yourself to see where is the nonsense much more clearly and easily.
- Allow positive emotions, too. Not just feeling the crapshow, but relearning how to feel positivity. Love, joy, happiness, sense of humor…
- Find meaning and purpose in your existence. Create yourself a mission, even if it feels silly for others.
- Find your authenticity. I can’t really explain how it works, but in being our true selves, we start to be more in tune with what we want, who we want to be, and what we actually aim for in life. We start to attract the right people, at the right time, for the right reasons. That-is-alignment. To-live-your-truth.
- Find creative hobbies. I found singing, dancing, and playing the guitar helpful. Writing, plus tricot and crochet as well. Others find that woodcarving, making weird stuff with random objects around the house, or even writing a novel can be of interest.
- Exercise all that pent-up energy of the past. Allow yourself to move on by moving on.
- Walk in nature. Go on hikes. Sense the growth of a flower or the ebb and flow of the sunrise and sunset. Go to sleep when it gets dark, and wake up early. Allow your body to adjust to the natural cycles and seasons.
- Rest a lot. Just allow yourself to sleep a lot. Rest will integrate all the healing.
A few tips just because we are at it…
I write in my journal and do healing work every day, there isn’t a single day that goes by where some healing does not occur. Then I allow myself my normal life, work, study, people, and other things. Healing is my priority.
Make yourself your priority. Allow your honesty to reach you too. Allow yourself to be honest about things … what works and doesn’t for you. Keep those standards high and live up to them.
Keep your responsibilities straight. Take care of the kids, dogs, and cats. Cook for yourself and others. Drink plenty of water. Take long baths or appropriately timed showers.
Allow room to grow as a person. Life is not a school, but we can choose to either learn or not the lessons — so find the love lesson, and allow stuff to move on.