Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Healing the Wounded Soul

Healing the wound

The first major point is to acknowledge these emotional ”deficiencies”; that they exist and they have legitimacy. We feel this way for a very valid reason, even though the feeling is perhaps a negative one. This is a really good start. We cannot work with these feelings unless we make this acknowledgement. We also need to acknowledge that we may have repressed these feelings for a very valid reason as well: emotional survival. But the time has come now to stop that old pattern and to express these feelings safely and form some new patterns.

Some people decide to work with their emotional material through art, literature, poetry, or creativity, others in new relationships, or different lifestyles, some through helping others. But, for the working through to be effective and satisfying, the essential inner work has got to be done as well. There needs to be a prioritization of working through your inner feelings, your depression, your anxious states of mind or body, your negative thoughts, or your low self-esteem. Then you can start to express yourself much better; otherwise, you may be avoiding some of these issues by doing the art, getting into a new relationship, or repeating a pattern that does not work for you. Only you can tell. Focus on what you feel that you need to do for yourself. Working through negative feelings is not easy. If we take the example of the negative emotion of jealousy, the jealous person needs to recognize, first of all, that their jealousy is a real problem, it is affecting their life, and then they need to work to change it. This is not easy because their focus tends to be primarily on other people—and what they might have that the jealous person does not have—and not on that person’s “self” and the more positive gifts and benefits that they do have, albeit perhaps buried. If we are focused on other people and their “assets”, we cannot see ourselves so well. Additionally, the jealous person is usually quite afraid of internal changes, wanting their external possessions or position (status) to change instead, and thus they want to stay in control. So, it is not an easy emotion to work with. On a more positive note, it is (perhaps) quite a good strategy to try to realize that you yourself are worthwhile, worthy, and have nearly all the assets that you need. There is no real need to feel jealous of others, therefore. If one can turn away from the focus on other people, and look more at your self, this will benefit the process. The feeling of jealousy comes from feelings of quite low self-esteem. This has little to do with you, but is linked to your perception of yourself.

Working through the section on “Selfesteem” might help the feelings of jealousy about what others have, and that you think that you do not have. In working through these types of emotions, it is only a very strong-willed person who is able to manage to do this on his or her own. Furthermore, it is quite rare to have a good and close friend who can be there just for you and not get involved as well. This is why it is sometimes better to consult someone else professionally, like a counsellor or psychotherapist. This also helps to “contain” the process to that hour, place, and relationship, so that it does not leak out all over the place. There is nothing worse than struggling with feelings of (say) abandonment, only to be told by your partner that you are really a very needy person and this is putting them off, or, when dealing with authority issues, to be told by someone in the office that you are being bossy or rebellious. “I know! I know! I am working on it. Give me a break!” In looking at these issues, within a self-help book, it is important to realize what one can do for oneself, and when one may need help from others, or professionally. The purpose and intent of this process is yours and yours alone: nothing can happen without this form of determination. Self-awareness is also absolutely essential, totally up to you, and only you will be the main beneficiary of it.

Only you can possibly be fully aware of all the different emotions locked within your self. You were there when the “choice” was made to repress some of these feelings in order to survive emotionally: a valid, worthwhile, and successful choice as it turned out—it worked! But the situation that you are in now is a very different one. Your emotional survival—mental health, happiness—depends on a different “choice” being made. You may now realize that some of your resilience, your creativity, and something of your uniqueness also got locked up with those negative feelings. If you want access to these hidden aspects of yourself, then you will have to work through some of those repressed feelings that lie in the way. Unfortunately, you do not get something for nothing. You are going to have to do the work.

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