In a previous post I mentioned I was going to write something about ‘dealing with your stuff’ and how to get emotional healing into your life.
Heavy I know but I’m going to walk you through a few things I’ve learned and that have worked for me.
First up, mental health is real and if you are having concerns, please go and get a referral off your GP to go and get assessed. There’s no shame in it and you deserve to be well.
Secondly, what I’m about to say may trigger deep emotional pain you’ve suffered in your life so be prepared and watch out for any addictive behaviour or mood changes this could cause.
OK. So as humans, we don’t like to experience pain so we do things that minimise pain or momentarily distract us from it. This could be keeping yourself busy with work, texting your crush for attention, eating, drinking, constant need to feed on people for attention- that sort of thing.
Basically anything that stops us thinking about painful moments.
I’ve heard various counsellors say things like ‘you need to go to your pain’ which I never really understood until my friend and now Pastor Kristy Whitfield came out with these amazing words she learned at Bible College:
“Anger is unprocessed hurt”
I’ll say it again because this is huge and unlocked a whole lot of healing for me:
“Anger is unprocessed hurt”
I realised that I’d been carrying around a lot of frustration and anger and didn’t really understand why. Nothing really ‘bad’ had happened to me other than the normal bumps and disappointments of life-but who hasn’t had those?
So I figured I must have ‘unprocessed hurt’ and therefore, I needed to process it. But how do you do that?
Again, I’m not a psychologist so I can only say what I did and be careful. I lay down starfish on that floor in my bedroom with nobody around and started reframing my hurt. So instead of saying ‘that situation pissed me off” I would say “that situation hurt me, I was hurt by that”.
Now the key is not to put any judgement on the hurt. Don’t minimise or try and pick winners and losers and rationalise the scenario. Just address the hurt. As you name it, the feelings will come back and you will start to feel terrible. You might cry or feel upset and angry but that’s OK, that’s the processing happening. Let the feelings you’ve been suppressing pour out of you onto the floor and let them leave your body. A friend of mine went to grief counselling and was told that “emotions are like quicksand, the more you struggle against them the deeper you’ll sink, so just float on the surface and let them be.” You’ll find the big feelings will be around your family and your relationships. Again, don’t try and judge ‘well I said some hurtful things too” just acknowledge your hurt and let it be about your healing. As Joyce Meyer famously says “hurting people hurt people” so the more healed you are, the less likely you are to hurt others in the future—let this be about you.
I have a much better control on angry and frustrated feelings now as I can reframe them as hurt “that hurt me” —it’s not victimhood it’s just being self aware and then you can let the feeling go. Anger is a defence system-especially for women and we can build up walls, not wanting to appear weak. But you end up carrying the burden of that hurt and it can really weigh you down.
Proceed with caution but process those emotions and you’ll live more free and healed.