What exactly do we mean by “emotional healing”?
I recently met with a friend of mine who, for the third time, was mugged and severely beaten by robbers. This last time he was forced at gunpoint to withdraw all the money he could from his bank account at an ATM. When I caught up with my friend, he did not want to talk about what had happened, and reacted angrily to my efforts to get him to recognize and heal this unfortunate pattern in his life. I was trying to make a case for emotional healing, when he replied: “You do realize how nuts and sadomasochistic you sound to want to push me or anyone else to go back to an unpleasant event in order to feel our pain?! What’s next? Self-flagellation?!”
I then asked him if he would even think of letting a large wound get infected on his body without doing anything about it. Would he just watch it fester, and allow it to hurt him and become a serious problem? I argued that treating a physical wound is in essence the same thing as addressing an emotional pain, except that each wound requires a different type of healing approach because different parts of one’s being are being treated.
I feel fear. I feel anger. I feel grief.
Negative emotions have a bad reputation; even when not overwhelming, they are still difficult to manage. Many of us spend a great deal of time and energy trying to be and feel positive, but even for the ones who succeed, being and feeling positive is not faithful to us. It generally does not last. The negativity inevitably arises from within us, or is projected by someone else onto us. Now what? We feel bad. Again. Still.
Although positive thinking is often presented as the one-size-fits-all solution for emotional problems, it is actually not the best fit, in my opinion. In fact, despite claims to the contrary by some makers of Spandex apparel, there is no one-size-fits-all for anything, and especially not for emotional healing.
How can “making” myself think positive thoughts, automatically push me to let go of my grief? My emotions are not predictable, unless I were sedated, and if that were the case, I wouldn’t feel anything.
Granted, being an optimist in life certainly enhances the whole experience; nevertheless positive thinking is not best used as a Band-Aid to cover over a problem that originated on an energetic level. It is not matter, it is not thought, it is feeling that we are dealing with here.
Bad feelings need emotional healing, and bad thoughts need mind healing or mental cleanses. It follows that trying to think happy thoughts to resolve bad feelings may not yield the hoped-for results. I am not denying that the mind is often able to overpower our emotions, by affirming powerful and positive statements, but, while it may overpower the fear, for instance, the fear does not go away.
Ask your Self where the fear went: focus, and feel the answer.
When is it going to stop? When is my fear going to stop? When am I going to feel at peace with myself? Is this emotional roller-coaster endless?
I feel, therefore I am.
After asking myself these questions for years, I finally understood that I was going to spare myself more headaches by just letting myself be without so much thinking.
I then started to let more fears, more anger, more tears come up in me...and with compassion for Self, my Self. Later on, I learned to discipline myself to not think about what I was feeling, at least when the emotion first expresses itself, and, especially, if I am in my safe space.
It seems to me that the less I think about my emotions and the less I judge them, the faster the fear, anger, or sadness move through me, and onward. It’s already uncomfortable enough to feel negative emotions; hence, I try to make the passing emotional rides going through my body as smooth as possible for me.
Some painful memories such as child abuse and any other source of great emotional pain and trauma can be really hard on us to process or to feel deeply. It is very important in those instances, but also as a general rule, to remember that this processing of old pain is going to be traumatic on the body, and to take extra care to take care of it, to eat well and to rest sufficiently.
Emotional healing is stereotypically associated with women, but this is not necessarily true. Men may have a greater capacity to repress their emotions because they are taught to do so from an early age, but they have a rich emotional reservoir. Many men have told me that they fear that the dam might break if they begin to let their feelings out; several have told me that they are afraid that they would be capable of murder or suicide or other horrible actions if all their repressed feelings came out at once.
Obviously, it is not healthy to either continue bottling up all these feelings inside or to let them all out at once and dump them on other people. A healthy balance is to begin to open up and express and explore them little by little, always with the intention of vibrating fully at some point, but recognizing that this will be a process rather than a quick-fix type of situation.
Labeling emotional healing as a “woman thang” is not helping men express themselves, especially the so-called weaker-sex emotions like fear or sadness, while it keeps the women isolated with/and blamed for the negative emotions.
As you read through the articles in this section, you will begin to see another important aspect of feeling our negative emotions, in that they help us grow up, and become responsible for our actions. My father would often argue with me as a child that his authoritarian education was foundational to my becoming mature, and he was partly right. An easy example that comes to mind is around housecleaning, in which very often kids can be messy at home because they know they can get away with it. Once they leave the nest, and live in the so-called real world, other people are generally not so nice and flexible with them, and through fear of displeasing others, among other emotions, they learn to clean up after themselves.
Becoming conscious of how and what you feel here and now.
The message here is about being present with all your emotions, and especially your negative emotions, because they are yours: you are the one feeling them after all. If everyone would spend time with their Self compassionately, especially their Self-in-pain, we would have more harmony inside and outside of ourselves.
There are many healing practitioners who can help one manage his/her alternating bouts of anxiety and depression, but at the end of the day, I am convinced that time and space by myself is crucial to a successful emotional healing process.
The best setting for emotional healing is always in nature, away from the noise, distractions, and daily pressure to wear our masks and perform our roles. Nature is also connected to the Life Force, in that when we walk in nature, we receive life energy because we are surrounded by plants and trees who give out energy. Nature is our rock; it grounds us.
Emotional movement in the name of healing is the movement of life, like the rivers of the Amazon which twist themselves around each and every obstacle, but always reach their destination: the sea.