If you want to heal emotional pain, you have to re-condition your responses to emotional states. Rather than hiding emotional wounds, focus on treating and caring for them. The first list outlines common ways of dealing with pain that aren’t serving us emotionally.
Ignore the emotional wounds you sustain in daily life.
Believe that ignoring emotional pain is a sign of strength.
Believe that feeling emotional pain is a sign of weakness or psychological frailty.
Believe that being in touch with your feelings, knowing you hurt, and wishing you didn’t diminishes you in any way.
Think of yourself as weak when you experience the pain of rejection.
Consider yourself undesirable when you know the ache of loneliness.
Punish yourself when you carry the burden of guilt.
Lose faith in yourself when you encounter the bitter disappointment of failure.
Lose yourself in the anguish of loss.
Become crushed within the churning of brooding and rumination.
Belittle yourself further when your self-esteem is already under assault.
Instead, know that what makes you human is your capacity to feel emotional pain. What makes you wise is your capacity to recognize you are not weak. What makes you strong is your ability to recover from emotional wounds and to become more resilient by doing so. Such wisdom, like all wisdom, must be learned and can be learned.
Here is what you should remind yourself that you KNOW:
Your brain is wired to experience rejection as physical pain, and that there are ways to ease that pain and revive your self-worth in its aftermath.
Loneliness is a trap of self-protective but self-defeating behaviors that can push others away, but that it is one from which you can escape.
You can elicit authentic forgiveness from others, as well as from yourself, and that once you do, your burden of guilt will lift.
Failure will cause you to perceive yourself and your goals in distorted ways, and that you must ignore these ‘gut’ feelings and focus on the many factors that are in your control.
Loss can devastate your life but that eventually finding meaning in your experience will give you a renewed and powerful sense of purpose and life satisfaction.
Brooding and ruminating is an emotional hamster wheel that only deepens your anger and sadness and that stepping out of the wheel by refusing to repeatedly pursue the same painful thought is the only way to free yourself from it.
Your self-esteem is the emotional immune system that protects you from life stresses, and that indulging negative self-talk when it is low will only weaken it further when instead you can and should rebuild it.
You know how to treat physical injuries like cuts and sprains when you sustain them, so learn how to treat your emotional wounds as well. Do teach your children to heed their emotions and to treat their emotional injuries as soon as they occur. Show them how to go forward in life with confidence, knowing your emotional pain will inevitably knock you down, but knowing as well that you can pick yourself up, recover, and become stronger for your future.