Life is tough. Bad things happen to good people, and there can seem to be no rhyme or reason why these things have happened. We all have painful memories that we’d rather not dwell on. But when you’re grappling with emotional pain, every day can seem like a struggle. Remember to take each day as it comes and try not to sabotage yourself by putting up road blocks.
5 Things that can Sabotage Emotional Healing
Staying in a Toxic Environment
One of the worst thing you can do to prevent your own emotional healing is to remain in a toxic environment. Remember that we become like the five people who we spend most of our time with, so make sure you choose your company wisely. Surround yourself with supportive people that understand your life goals and want to see your flourish.
Check that the environment that you are spending the majority of your time in, is healthy too. If you get anxiety being in a certain place, try to limit your time there and set aside some time for relaxation after you leave. If there is a place that triggers difficult memories, if you have to go to these places, try to go there with the support of others. Don’t think that you just have to struggle through it all on your own. Some people with severe emotional pain can develop addiction problems. If this is the case for you or someone you know, you can find healing in places like a recovery house. This will help you or your loved one get the space and support to conquer those maladaptive coping behaviors.
Being Consumed by the Past
The next thing that many people do to sabotage emotional healing is to dwell on the past. You know the fight or flight theory? Our brain is set up to be wired for danger, so anything dangerous and difficult will usually create a strong memory. If you catch yourself ruminating on painful past experiences, don’t try to squash them down. Acknowledge that they are there, and then move your attention to a positive activity like drawing, reading or even cleaning the house. You will find if you do not pay them as much attention, it’s possible these powerful feelings will get easier with time. It takes time and you must be gentle with yourself. Go at your own pace and know you must walk through pain to get to the other side of it.
Another way we will often sabotage emotional healing for ourselves is by not forgiving people involved in the hurt. It can feel like you are condoning someone’s behaviors when you forgive them. But this is not the case. It just means that you are letting go of the pain that was caused by the situation. Forgiving is not for the other person, it’s for yourself and it’s a powerful thing. This doesn’t mean you are saying what happened is ok or that you must have regular contact with that person in your life either. You can forgive and love someone from a distance if their presence is not conducive to your recovery.
Doing it on Your Own
Lastly many people sabotage their emotional health by trying to do it all on their own. Whatever your religious beliefs are healing is something we most likely can’t do alone. Having an awareness and belief in something higher than ourselves can bring healing when we are struggling to find contentment in the midst of a storm. In my life I have relied on my Christian beliefs to find hope and faith again through my darkest times. I’m also a firm believer that seeking the help of a counselor, therapist or psychologist is the most useful tool I’ve ever utilized. Seeking help from a professional is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Seeking help is NOT a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength and a step towards getting your life back.
Have you or someone you know struggled with depression or emotional despair? What are some coping techniques you help?