How Our Emotional Wounds Strengthen Us

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Stop Concealing The Pain

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” — Helen Keller

Despite our intense emotional wounds, the hurt will pass and the scars eventually heal. To relive the pain reinforces the experience because we cling to the emotions instead of process them. As time moves on so does the emotional strain, yet we needn’t clutch to our pain story. We can suffer or let go of what no longer serves us. Many people mask their pain by avoiding it. They would rather forget the hurt which ironically reinforces it. Have you noticed this in your own life? What you avoid as pain or hurt intensifies and grows stronger? We must love and acknowledge our darkness like our pain and grief. If you appreciate the sun and wish away the darkness how would you see the stars at night? Our emotional wounds lead us to the wholeness of ourselves. It is remiss to emphasise our darkness while identifying with our light since we encompass both parts.

Pain is a powerful teacher that connects us with our inner wisdom. Without pain, how can we recognise the enduring self that lies beneath the rubble of suffering? Without pain, we are powerless to embrace the entirety of who we are. Our emotional wounds do not imply we are flawed, yet show our true character. They are our battle scars that demonstrate we have danced with life and lived to tell the tale. We communicate to others of the struggles that lie ahead, having traversed the path ourselves. Our wounds lie fragmented deep within our psyche. If we have not reconciled them, they grow stronger until we address them. They are the imposing shadow, lurking in the darkness waiting to grab hold if we grow weary. The mind’s self-protection is an admirable defence to preserve our emotional wellbeing. It stows away the pain when we’re least equipped to deal with it. Rather than persecute ourselves for holding on to unpleasant memories, we ought to appreciate that our mind protects us from getting hurt further.

A Return to Love

“When I stand before thee at the day’s end, thou shalt see my scars and know that I had my wounds and also my healing.” — Rabindranath Tagore

We can become our own healer via loving and nurturing declarations to ourselves. This reinforces how it is now safe to face these emotions with openness to heal. Our emotional wounds call us to connect with our inner child instead of escaping when the pain intensifies. To run away from pain is the opposite of loving kindness because we neglect to honour our emotional wellbeing. We must love ourselves foremost as we would a friend or loved one who is hurt. To demonstrate this commitment, consider the vows recited when two people marry: to honour one another through the good times and bad. So we ought to make the same commitment to ourselves. Irrespective of the emotions that arise, we will honour them. Our emotional wounds strengthen us because they show we have lived a purposeful life. There is a broader lesson contained within each emotional wound. If we penetrate through the pain, we realise it is a return to love as the American spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson affirms.

So when you experience pain and suffering, love yourself. When you feel anxiety and tension, love yourself. When you feel happiness and joy, love yourself. This simple act of self-renewal permeates into our conscious, so regardless of the external conditions, our deepest wisdom leads us to connect with our heart. I’ve observed that when I embrace my emotional wounds, it opens me to a greater awareness of my soul nature. The shell which conceals the pain is cracked open to expose the loving tenderness beneath. This is the basis for heart-centred living, in contrast to the egoist self. To heal, we must de-clutter our lives and nurture the child within, while creating a secure environment for healing to occur. The saying, time heals all wounds does not hold significance if we do not make the time to face them. We may store away the emotional fragments of the past, only to have them reappear at a later stage. To confront our emotional wounds means to honour ourselves foremost. No matter what emerges, we trust we will cope.

Everyone is bound to experience hurt and pain in their lives. Unless you’ve lived under a rock, we all carry emotional pain. It’s how we transform the pain to develop a deeper relationship with ourselves that leads to inner freedom. Our wounds strengthen us because they invite us to be sensitive to our emotional life. We become inquisitive about our emotions and examine them with openness and equanimity. To be curious fosters a balanced relationship with the wholeness of who we are, rather than dismiss the emotions as untoward. As we associate with our fractured parts, we strengthen our commitment to ourselves. To accept and heal our emotional wounds, we release them to invite the power of love to occupy its space. We allow the experience to transform us into empowered beings. This is the message espoused by the acclaimed spiritual author Dennis Merritt Jones who writes in Your Redefining Moments: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be: “Remember, forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting. We may always have memories attached to some of our emotional wounds in much the same way we have scar tissue from a physical wound that happened long ago. That doesn’t mean you have to relive the pain that caused the scar.”

Our childhood wounds are exposed through adult relationships and if we do not face them, they will ruin our lives. Therefore, they are a gift guiding us to heal within. Through mindfulness, we learn to be grounded in the present moment and experience any emotions that emerge. This simple act cultivates true intimacy with ourselves. So avoid holding on to your pain. There is no power gained from being a victim, other than to deflect your wounds onto others to appease your suffering. I wish to leave you with an exercise that captures the essence of coming home to ourselves. Sit in silence or meditation and close your eyes. Place your dominant hand over your heart and your other hand on top of it and feel what comes up for you. It might in the form of a symbol, a sign or a strong emotion. Sit with them and simply allow them to be present. Don’t judge, criticise or analyse what you experience, just be with them. Do this exercise as often as you can and you will notice these emotions that you run away from, carry an import message about you true essence. Afterall, our responsibility is not to judge ourselves, but to reconcile the pain and integrate it into our experience toward oneness.

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