Most of us like for unpleasant or painful situations to resolve quickly. If we have surgery or an injury, we often chafe at the slowness of the healing process, wanting to hurry everything back to normal.
We want the same rapidity with emotional healing, often stuffing hurts into a protected corner of mind and heart and moving forward as if nothing happened. But healing is a process, one that sometimes follows a circuitous route rather than a straight path. Emotional healing may be a back and forth, up and down journey that takes years.
Following are keys to aid the healing process:
Expect the Unexpected
Several weeks ago, I noticed something white protruding from one of the healed incisions from my foot surgery. I thought it was a piece of skin, but on closer inspection discovered a filament that looked like a piece of dental floss. I consulted with my surgeon online and he said it was an internal suture working its way out. He advised me to pull it and cut it. Easier said than done! The suture wouldn’t budge. It was tough and required the aid of several sharp implements to cut. Even now, the remnants of the suture are visible.
Emotional healing is full of twists and turns. Just when you think total healing has occurred, the unexpected pushes to the surface, causing painful memories, anger, and hurt to intrude into your life again. Emotional wounds are rough, unwanted, persistent, and not easy to overcome. In many ways, emotional healing is a longer process than physical healing. Scars may not be visible, but they remain and sometimes surprise us by re-opening when we least expect it.
Decide to Forgive
Forgiveness is hard, especially when the offender isn’t repentant. When you consider someone who has caused you immeasurable pain, it’s difficult to fathom forgiveness is possible. But healing and restoration can’t happen until you let go of anger and forgive.
My offender isn’t sorry, you may argue. Forgiveness isn’t contingent on the offender; forgiveness is about your decision to not seek revenge for hurts inflicted on you. And sometimes, the person you need to forgive is you. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, one that changes your perspective and frees you from an emotional prison.
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, one that changes your perspective and frees you from an emotional prison.
Let Go of the Past
If you allow them to, emotional wounds can shackle you to the past and halt forward motion. Many people harbor deep anger from emotional wounds that results in bitterness. That bitterness clouds everything they do and say and keeps them looking backwards. As long as you are mired in the past, the process of healing will never be complete. Letting go of the past ignites forward motion.
Just as physical healing requires time and following doctor’s orders, so emotional healing is a process, one which necessitates decisions about forgiveness, letting go of past hurts, and moving ahead. With God’s help, you can recover and heal from emotional wounds.
The Lord said, “Forget what happened long ago! Don’t think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, streams in thirsty lands” (Isaiah 43:18-19 CEV).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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