Are you having trouble moving forward in life because of your past? Do you feel like the world is against you much of the time? Do you feel like you will never get out of the cycle of hurt and self doubt? If you answered yes to any of the above then you are probably still living with open wounds. You are still bleeding.
“Our personal journey is always through our wound. We analyse it, deny it, project it, and consequently repeat it. Freedom comes when we face it.” Kristen White
Most of us don’t like to think about ourselves as wounded. And yet all of us are. It is an inevitable part of life that we suffer. Suffering is something most of us say we avoid – and yet do we?
I don’t know a single adult in my life who isn’t wounded in some way. It can be major wounds of abuse by others and/or ourselves, broken relationships, tragic events, loss of loved ones, accidents, bullying, inappropriate childhood conditioning, the list goes on and on. Sometimes we have even had a wonderful upbringing, we felt loved and secure and cared for, and yet somewhere along the line something happened, or someone did something to us, or we got caught up in the middle of other people’s tragic-ness, and we got wounded.
If everyone has been wounded, why is it that some are able to move forward in life, function happily and healthily while others still bleed out?
Do you constantly feel ‘lack’, do you feel like life is all too hard because you can never get a break? Does each new event feel like it’s building up on the last, and not in a good way? If you are still suffering whenever something goes wrong – and this will continue as life is all about ups and downs – there is an answer. In fact you have it inside yourself. That’s the great news.
I’m going to say it’s all about perspective. Isn’t it always?
My understanding of grief has come about from learning strategies to deal with it. Learning to look for the lesson or the guidance, or the way forward through the despair. I have come to see grief as a layer thing. Something starts it all off, grief is laid down and unless you heal, each time a new event happens, another layer of grief gets added, and you not only feel that subsequent event, but all the unresolved events that have lead you to this point. If it’s not dealt with then eventually even the smallest grief events – a flat tyre – an opportunity passed by – losing some money – everyday things can feel like the chasm that you cannot cross.
If this is you, then you are acting out of your wounds – you haven’t dealt with them, haven’t healed the grief and each time it just gets worse and worse until your perspective leaves you miserable most of the time. Sometimes, we think we have moved through the grief of an event, only to find that somewhere down the track we get derailed again, and it all comes flooding back. Another layer is added and unless you do something to heal healthily, it’s not going to get much better each time you are triggered. I’ll say it again – there is an answer, a way through this, but it is going to take some work, particularly if your layers are deep and you are still very much oozing grief all the time.
The very first step is to realise that this is happening to you.
The second step is to decide that you WILL do something about it – honestly work towards healing, not just give it lip service, complaining it doesn’t work, and then keep holding onto all those layers.
Then it is important to see your patterns and triggers. It may be easy to see for yourself once you decide to do this, but you may also need to get some help. If you are willing to hear the truth, then ask someone you trust to be honest with you (maybe a counsellor, mentor or friend). Often others can see our patterns easier than we can. But they can be pretty easy to spot once we are able to step back and observe our emotions, actions and reactions.
It’s also important to see the reasons why we have been holding onto the grief for so long. The really deep and often hard question to answer is ‘how does holding onto my grief serve me?’ That can seem a preposterous question until we can really sit with it and hear what is coming up. It might be that we are so used to relating to others through our grief, that we do not know how to relate with healthy functioning. It may be that the responses we get from people appeal to our sense of need – our loneliness – and we can’t see past the immediate responses, even if it means that further down the track we are left feeling even more lonely because people find us all too much hard work. It may be that you are accustomed to the drama.
Be honest and see it for what it is, then you can move forward. And be kind to yourself, acknowledging that it is Ok that you are here, and that you can now make a new choice.
Once you get to here, there are so many different things you can do, strategies you can adopt to start peeling back the layers. But you have to realise that it is going to hurt and not shy away from it. But be gentle on yourself, go one small step at a time. If your grief is great, or you feel you can’t do it alone, that is totally OK, and again let me encourage you to seek help.
Once you start letting go of the layers, you will feel lighter, healthier, freer and you will be encouraged to keep going – as long as you are willing to pursue it.
Once healing has been welcomed in, you will find that the memories of the hurts are still there – that is so important, we don’t want to forget the lessons we learn, the catalyst for our growth into better human beings, but we won’t be as easily derailed. Each time you achieve healing in full awareness, then you have given yourself another strategy for the next time life throws something at you and you can live in the present, not be constantly dragged back to the past to relive the old hurts over and over. What an amazing feeling this is, and how it changes your life.
I hope that if you are suffering you will be brave enough to seek a new perspective, find the changes that you need to make, accept that the choice to be happy is yours and yours alone, no matter what life circumstances have come, or now come, your way.
In this way we can find lasting joy and peace.
Merelyn’s writing is supported in part by the sale of her books. Autobiography - ‘The Deepest Part of Me’. ‘Inspire’ – inspirational reflections for your life’s journey. ‘Stories behind the Songs’ and her first children’s picture book ‘To The Moon and Back - Grandma’s Rocket Ship Adventure’. To find out more about her work and to support her through the purchase of her writings and music, please go to www.carterandcarter.com.au