How to Heal Emotional Trauma
We all have Emotional Pain
In most modern societies today, there is a deep undercurrent of struggle that often goes unspoken in the surface level conversations of the world. Many tv shows, advertisements, and conversations in general revolve around striving to be happy and feeling good. A typical theme in entertainment is a story with a “fairy tale ending”, where everyone lives happily ever after and all is well.
While many movies touch upon deeper emotional experiences, there is often very little emotional support to the viewer other than being taken out of your pain for a period while you fantasize over the experience of others, and potentially giving you some inspiration moving forward.
Of course, many will suggest that if you’re feeling intense emotional pain that you should see a psychologist or a doctor to get a diagnosis or some medications. If things are very serious, we absolutely do recommend this! We just have to be mindful of the depth that we are going, which really depends on the quality of the psychologist. In many cases, they can be used as a way to cure the surface symptom of an issue, rather than getting to the real core where it stems from; this again depends entirely on the psychologist’s ability to connect with the individuals they’re working with.
Emotional trauma is not something that only a few people have, but something that almost all of us face in some way, shape or form; whether it’s from a bad break up, an accident of some kind, a situation with a family member, a friend that caused pain or anger, or any kind of experience we would perceive as negative that lowers our sense of self worth, including experiences of embarrassment or shame.
This is why this issue is so pertinent in today’s world, not because there are a few people who are struggling in the open with their problems, but that there are millions more who are keeping their emotions buried deep down where nobody can see them. This creates a level of emotional disconnection from others and the world all around them. It is potentially for this reason why their first response is “go see a psychologist and get on with your life”, because they are not willing to face these feelings in the reflections of others.
With that said, if each of us can acknowledge that we do have some degree of pain we are or have been struggling through, then this allows for the tremendous opportunity to genuinely shift it. We can resolve the problem within us, and move into a more vibrant and healthy state of being, with more awareness about why the problems of the world even exist to begin with, and what is required to heal them. Doing so also helps others resolve their struggles, and that may very well be one of the biggest blessings from doing this internal work – to be more in service to others who are going through the same thing.
And so, by this point, you are probably in a space of acknowledging that you too have some pent up emotions that needs to be released. But where do we begin?
The Four Steps of Emotional Healing
Step 1 – The Acknowledgement of the Problem
The first step is one which we’ve already touched upon. This is the realization or recognition that we have been through a struggle, and it’s causing us to be emotionally distressed inside or leaving us swirling with pain and emotional stimulus on a daily basis. By simply observing that this is the case and having the intent to resolve it, we begin the process of doing so.
Step 2 – Facing the Feelings
The second step is to face and experience the depth of our feelings. If we shut them out and run away from them, then we can never truly release them. You can compare this to cleaning your home, if you have a rug with a bunch of dirt swept underneath it, it’s only logical that in order to clean out the dirt, you’ll first have to lift up the rug and sweep underneath it. It goes the same with feelings, by not really being in tune with how you feel, then your feelings will continue to have power over you, instead of you having power over your feelings.
Facing your feelings doesn’t have to happen alone. There are many ways that these traumas can be processed… First, it can happen by communicating and sharing these feelings with loved ones or those who have demonstrated to care about you. If the experience was particularly traumatic, then speaking with a psychologist may be your best option. Most people have dealt with some level of trauma and emotional pain in their lives, but sometimes it’s not so extreme to warrant needing to go to a psychologist. Even in some of the more extreme cases, if the individual has a strong willpower to see their trauma through, they can get through it on their own or by the help of loved ones.
Other forms of facing our feelings can come in the form of creative arts, such as drawing or painting, music, or even simply writing it out. Ultimately, the expression of it helps us come to terms with whatever has happened so that we may find peace with the experience and move on.
Step 3 – Forgiveness and Responsibility
This is one of the hardest parts for most people to truly put their experience behind them, but it is pivotal in creating a truly peaceful state of mind, and allowing the spirit true freedom in one’s body of consciousness.
Forgiveness has to do with having a space of compassion towards everyone involved, both towards yourself and to others. Responsibility on the other hand invites you to observe more directly your role in bringing about these experiences, so that you may learn from how you played a part in creating them. Even if you did not appear to directly have any role, such as if some random stranger you’ve never met just walks up and punches you in the face for no reason; having responsibility is just as much about your reaction as it is how you were involved in the first place. You are responsible for each and every action you’ve ever taken, including whether or not you had forgiveness for the stranger who clocked you in the schnoz.
The easier it is for you to forgive the other person, the easier it will be to release the emotional attachment you have to the experience. You will always have the memories of the experience, but now they will no longer have a hold over you or dictate your actions and reactions to the world.
Together, forgiveness and responsibility go hand in hand. We have to have forgiveness for ourselves for our own mistakes, like if we yelled at our friend when we got so angry and said things that were mean or hurtful. If we feel emotions such as shame or guilt, which we previously allowed ourselves to feel in step 2, then we can hold a space of loving forgiveness for ourselves for feeling this way. Know deep down that it is ultimately okay to feel this way, and not to cast judgement on yourself for having a natural reaction or response to something traumatic.
The responsibility aspect comes into play again here, in that we are responsible for what we do in this moment, so once we’ve allowed ourselves to feel the way that we are feeling and forgive ourselves and others, we can begin taking actions that move us forward rather than continuing to dwell on these old feelings. You might consider it as “letting go of playing the victim role” from the 21 masks of the ego, which you can read about here link.
Step 3.5 – A Heartfelt Gesture
This is a sort of sub-step which lands between steps three and four, and helps bridge the gap between releasing the old energy and bringing something new into your life. This comes in the form of “grounding it out”, by taking an action that helps close out the energy for you, and shows your support to others who might also be involved in the circumstance. If someone died, it might mean writing a letter to other family members, or planting a memorial in someone’s honor. It could also be taking the time to make a commitment never to do the thing again that caused the trauma, or honoring someone else’s experience too, and helping them find peace among the trauma that you both shared.
There is no such thing as a gesture too little, especially considering the scale of what you’re going through. You may not have the energy for more than something small, but remember; big things sometimes come in very small packages. The important thing is that you’re giving of yourself to honor and acknowledge what has happened, so that you can find completion and potentially even support someone else in theirs as well.
Step 4 – Reintegration
Once we have done all of this work, the hardest parts are behind us, and now it’s time to look forward. By the realization that we are not defined by our past selves, we can begin looking to our future as one of infinite potentials, and one that can be filled with light and hope!
This final step has to do with reintegrating with whole self, and then re-entering society as a whole new you. When we are working through our emotions, often it’s very difficult to spend time with others as we are so ingrained in whatever it is we are going through. However, once we have dealt with the trauma, we are now free to return to the world with a deeper understanding of ourselves with more confidence, and more support to others who may be going through something similar. It is akin to a broken bone that heals stronger than it was before it was broken, but this is a broken bone for the soul.
By moving forward and creating a new life for yourself, you can experience a newfound feeling of preciousness for all of life, and a renewed sense of clarity on what you want your life to be about. In that state, you then re-enter the world as a new you, and experience the magic of life once more.
Other tips and tricks for working through Trauma
In addition to the four steps listed above, there are several other key ingredients which truly can make a huge difference when working through tremendous pain.
Tip 1: Exercise
Exercise has been shown to release oxytocin in the brain and body which stimulates good feelings and healthy emotions, and further supports the relaxing of stressful muscles afterwards. By working out, going swimming, doing yoga, or simply going for walks or runs, we begin facilitating the process of changing our biochemistry to be more conducive to releasing trauma, rather than creating more in our body by allowing it to just sit there. You also might consider coupling this with a trip into nature, by going camping or on a walk in a park, you disconnect from the constant barrage of social network updates and experience life in a much more natural and peaceful way.
Tip 2: Meditation
Meditation has been demonstrated to support clarity of mind and thought, to allow new thought processes and emotions to take hold in the body. By observing old experiences in a new way, and even allowing our higher consciousness come in and guide our actions directly, we can calm the ego so that we may listen to the voice within our hearts. By actively meditating, we make it significantly easier to face our feelings, and resolve them internally. You can learn more about meditation by checking out our video about it here link to SS8.
If you don’t know how to meditate or don’t believe you can, then just remember that mindful breathing is the key to any meditation. Focusing on your breath, slowing it down, and relaxing with each breath is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
Tip 3: Reading spiritual literature
As fun as movies and videogames are, reading a book stimulates the mind in another way, very similar to meditation. It causes you to work your imagination, and invites you to begin observing what’s going on within you by relationship to the characters in the stories, or by the teachings of ancient masters. We recommend books like The Hermetica, the Celestine Prophecy, The Tao Te Ching, The Bible, The Bhagavad Gita or anything that truly resonates with you, and calls you to engage with it.
Tip 4: Water and Sleep
One of the best gifts you can give yourself when going through something challenging is not to overwork yourself, but to give yourself the basic ingredients conducive to a calm state of being. These ingredients look like proper hydration, and plenty of rest. Many times dehydration causes us to be more irritable than if we were properly hydrated, and sleep deprivation does the same thing. If we are having trouble sleeping, drinking water and meditating – focusing on slowing down your breath – can do just the trick for getting your body into a state which can facilitate a good night’s rest.
We would like to humbly thank our friends and family for their overwhelming support over the past years and helping us face a great deal of emotional trauma. There have been layers and layers of suffering that was endured, and after an extensive period of non stop emotional integration, meditation and self reflection, it would seem the hardest part is now behind us and we are excited to share this message of healing with the world and those who are struggling just as much, if not worse than what we went through. Best of luck to you all and know that our hearts and love go out to all those who are suffering with the intention of helping uplift others and bring greater peace to each and every one of you!