“When you are willing to feel it, you can begin to heal from it.” – Unknown
I grew up during a time when the neighborhood kids played hard everyday and usually always until dusk or when the street lights came on. Being a young boy there were plenty of bumps and bruises to go around. On several occasions I found myself being rushed to emergency to close up a gash or cut with stitches. As many times that I fell on my head growing up, it was a blessing that I did not suffer any permanent brain damage.
One of my many exploits involved playing on an older abandoned car. Somehow I fell off the car and right into the corner of brick head first. I remember placing my hands over the open wound and walking to the front door to tell my mother. As soon as I got to the door I removed my then blood-filled hands away from my head and immediately began to scream along with my sisters. By my reaction you would have thought I was going to die, but several hours later, with about six to eight stitches, some ice cream and a few balloons I was all back to normal somewhat.
The human body is an amazing creation. The ability it has to heal itself is truly a wonder and an amazing testimony to God’s grace and mercy. A little ointment, some medicine or a few band aids and we are all good.
Unfortunately this proven cure-all does not apply to emotional or psychological wounds. Often these types of wounds are easier to mask therefore they go untreated for years or even decades if ever even identified. We can numb the pain we feel inside with substances designed to calm us, inebriate, or completely remove us from the realities of our pain. As much as this choice does nothing to help us get better, we must admit it certainly helps us to feel good in the moment, but at some point these potentially detrimental choices can begin to erode any goodness that remains in our lives.
Whether that goodness comes in the form of a great career, a healthy relationship or our respected positions in society, ultimately our inability or unwillingness to address the wounds can have lifelong impacts that not only affect us, but potentially generations of our families, friends and communities.
Although I am not one to judge anyone for where they are in life, I have learned through my own personal experience that one of the greatest enemies to healing is pride. No one could ever deny a physical wound or resist surrendering to the obvious treatment they need to recover, but an emotional wound can be hidden as I mentioned earlier for years. Unfortunately at some point the only person hiding from the wound is the one suffering from it.
The by-product of the wounds manifest themselves is very specific ways and usually have patterns that become obvious, and although no one may have diagnosed us or is qualified to do so, people eventually become aware there is something just not right.
Some of those wounds manifest themselves as angry uncontrollable outburst, over eating, abstaining from food, physical or emotional abuse toward others, isolation from society, an inability to maintain a healthy relationship and so many other things that simply get in the way of living a prosperous and healthy life.
No one sets out to purposely live this way, but it happens everyday to millions of people. We live with scars that have never been healed therefore walk through our lives living on egg shells. The slightest things can set us off or send us on a tail spin of despair.
The illusion of a scar is the wound has thoroughly healed. Sometimes this is not the case at all, because underneath the layer of protective skin could be an infection that is spreading throughout our body, and until we uncover it and treat the infection in our physical bodies we will never heal and ultimately die. The same is true with emotional or psychological scars. If we fail to treat the deep-rooted issues that we suffer from, the pain will spread throughout our lives and destroy every part of it.
For years I tried to make other people happy at the expense of my own joy, and for years it seemed to work, but at some point I became weary, resentful and angry. During that time I was not sure if I was angry with those I endlessly sacrificed for, or if the anger was with myself. After some introspection (but unfortunately not enough) I came to the conclusion that I was angry with what others did to me. I mean after all, “it was their fault because they were all selfish people who simply took advantage of a nice guy”, I use to think .
How wrong I was! My decision to give tirelessly was no one’ s fault but my own, and what I needed to recognize was why I chose to live my life in this way. Who was I actually trying to please or gain approval from? There lied the keys to the core of my issue. My desire to please others resulted from a childhood issue with my own father. For years I sought for his approval and in my own mind I never received it, so I went on a mission to make anyone that I could happy. The problem is it never seemed to fill the holes in my heart. No matter how much I gave, I was still that much more empty.
The wound grew deeper and my effort to gain comfort grew with it, until I had no more to give. That is until I arrived at a place where I became empty, numb and isolated. It was a part of the dynamic that led to my multiple divorces and ability to abruptly shut down. I went from one extreme to the other and for a time I felt justified and as if I was finally doing the right thing for myself. After all it was time for me. “I did enough for everyone else”, I thought, but the pain and emptiness was still there.
One thing pain does for certain whether emotional or physical is it brings a wake up call. It will force you to your knees in surrender or have you running to the doctors in seek of some sort of relief. I was there, seeking relief, not a temporary fix, but something authentic and sustaining. No longer did that cure lie in simply making others feel good, but it lied in my own decisions and ability to be okay with them as they were, no matter how others felt about them or if they chose to agree with me or not.
Fast forward several years and I see a man who has a scar, but underneath I am truly healed. The scar will always remind me of where I was and what I am capable of, therefore acts symbolically of my transformation of becoming whole.
No longer do I live a life that seeks to solely please people. I place myself in that formula now and realize, “I am important and worthy enough to be first and I do not have to apologize or feel bad about it anymore.” The hole in my heart regarding this issue has been filled as a result to becoming whole, living my truth and healing from my wounds.
I am enough and so are you, so let’s begin to conduct ourselves as if we whole heartedly believe it.