This column seeks to help educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a …
Dear Tito: Last week you brought up the subject of the importance of being more in the present moment to allow healing and emotional sobriety. Building a healthy emotional foundation takes many disciplines because resentments of the past - and being overwhelmed by the future - can hijack you from internal peace and possibly create chaos in your outer world. Taking ownership of your feelings, as well as responsibility for your actions and reactions, builds resilience rather than promoting a position of victimization, where you try to resolve your internal struggle through an external rescuer.
Rarely is there resolution for your internal turmoil through blame and finding others to play into your victim position. It may actually cause more internal turmoil. With that said, many of our life experiences come from external sources in which you feel you were wronged. The difficult work is to shift cognitively and emotionally your perceived "wrong" into a fact, rather than a festering wound that continues to wreak havoc on you and possibly others. To decrease anguish from a historical wound takes support, which I call resourcing. With resourcing, you find tools internally as well as externally to help heal and allow that experience not to continue to interfere with the quality of your life.
Internal resourcing is how you "fine-tune" your own emotions. This may be done through actions such as positive self-talk for you to calm your system, or through different mantras such as, "This, too, shall pass," "I am held," "This is not forever" or any other words of wisdom that allow your nervous system to feel safe enough to start to calm down from that dis-eased state. This puts water on the internal fire rather than negative thoughts that just cause the brain to feel unsafe while adding fuel to your discomfort.
Other internal work can be healthy actions such as diet, exercise, going for a walk, taking a bath, spiritual and religious practices and other ways that allow your system to feel safe and parented by you. Quite often, healing happens through external supports such as support groups, spiritual leaders, mental health and medical professionals, family and community. The tricky part of this is that you want to make sure your supports are not promoting your victim position but actually helping you to empower healing and growth, rather than helping you stay caught in the past.
Both internally and externally, the goal is to allow a difficult experience to become history. As you are able to decrease blame and stop looking for external rescue, you will start to feel more at peace within your life. You may even find that as you move away from the internal chaos, you will decrease the external chaos in your life. Discovering the resources that support your health and build a solid and healthy life is the key to navigate the world that can be rather messy.
Thank you for the question. I wish you well. Until next week, take care.
Direct any questions to Dr. Ted Wiard, EdD, LPCC, CGC, founder of Golden Willow Retreat at GWR@newmex.com.
This column seeks to help educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.
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