One of the hardest things about healing from past trauma and emotional pain is allowing ourselves to feel the feelings associated with the trauma.
Our complex human minds have developed extremely clever ways to compartmentalize trauma so that we can carry on about our lives without dealing with those underlying feelings.
For instance, when we’re in a scary situation, our fight or flight response allows us to do what needs to be done to survive the situation at hand.
We flee from the danger, until it’s safe to resume normal activities.
We face the danger head on, fighting physically, mentally, and emotionally to defend or protect ourselves;
Or we freeze where we are until the danger passes.
No matter which response we use, if we are able to survive the threat, we will live with the repercussions of surviving that threatening situation.
And, at some point, we will have to face what happened that made us afraid; or run from it the rest of our lives.
Sex, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll
Compulsive behaviors are nothing more than an attempt to escape that which we don’t want to face.
Alcoholism, addictions, eating disorders, and substance abuse all serve to numb the physical body so that we can avoid feeling physical and emotional pain.
Don’t get me wrong, while I firmly believe there is no gold medal for suffering, I also believe that in order to evolve past a certain point in our lives, we have no choice but to face the feelings and circumstances that keep us stuck where we are.
We gotta feel it to heal it.
Which is exactly what makes dysfunctional behavior like alcoholism or drug addiction so convenient…it keeps us really busy staying alive instead of doing the work it takes to become the best versions of ourselves.
But what if we, like many, are not afflicted with dysfunctional behaviors that have handy labels such as alcoholism or drug addiction to describe how out of control we really are?
What if ours is an addiction to emotional chaos instead?
What if we have a habit of perpetually creating emotionally unstable situations in our lives which prevent us from focusing on ourselves and reaching our full potential? We enter into dysfunctional romantic relationships, we stay in toxic work environments, we align ourselves with friends or family members who suck us into their drama, depriving us of the peace required to evolve into our best selves?
Emotional chaos can derail our efforts towards healing in the same ways that drugs and alcohol (and a myriad other things) can do the same.
Make Space for Feeling (+ Healing)
Mindfulness is always the first step in affecting change.
We start by looking within and without, identifying the ways in which we are anesthetizing ourselves from feeling our own feelings; from healing what needs to be healed.
And we create space.
We give ourselves compassion and love.
We recognize that we are human.
That we are strong, yes. But fragile also.
We become aware that what we have been through in our lives hasn’t made us superhuman; it has made us more human.
With wisdom and vulnerability, strength and kindness in equal measure.
The way we heal ourselves is by first gifting ourselves the space in which it can happen.
We must create a hotbox for the soul; an environment in which transcendental souls can grow lush and vibrant and healthy.
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