While looking within is often the hardest phase of healing, it is crucial. I am not talking about a cursory review of oneself at the mind level, but rather a process of opening the hatch to our hearts and becoming emotionally transparent with ourselves. We must allow ourselves to feel and find the root causes of the hurt and negative beliefs we have so carefully sealed from our consciousness. As I help parents and kids reach this place, it is amazing to see how unaware they often are regarding the pools of pain they are carrying within as well as the negative beliefs they have adopted.
When I ask them on the surface if they are okay with themselves, the answer is normally yes, but as we dig through a long list of questions about their lives, unresolved hurts and deeply held negative beliefs begin to surface. Identifying the sealed off hurts within our hearts and the negative beliefs is essential to healing that brings with it internal contentment, peace and joy.
I often find that people have only two or three deeply heartfelt positive beliefs about themselves yet between eight and fourteen negative beliefs.
Negative things I hear:
- I am wrong
- There is something wrong with me
- I am bad
- I am a failure
- I am not smart
- I am stupid
- I am unlovable
- I am and never will be good enough
- I am a lousy friend
- I am ugly
- I am not likable
- I have no value
This list could go on and on with many other negatives shared by those I have helped begin to look within.
Positive things I hear:
- I am loyal
- I am honest
- I am smart
- I am forgiving
The interesting thing about the positive and negative lists people create is that the positive are character traits while the negatives are feelings they have felt so often they have come to believe they are facts and are true. They are not.
When we open the hatch to our hearts and let the emotions and feelings rise to the surface we begin the healing/grieving process and bring to light many unconscious feelings and beliefs that have been impacting how we view ourselves, others and even the world in significant ways. For many they become conscious for the first time. This alone is amazingly helpful.
I found in my own life that I had no idea why I was defensive and closed to others’ input. When I opened the Pandora’s box of my heart, it became clear. I was so negative about myself deep inside that I could not take any more and shut down my heart. I locked out anyone who had anything constructive to say because their input just confirmed there was something wrong with me and it hurt too much.
If you believe you have sealed the hatch to your heart, stuffing hurt and negative feelings about yourself, find someone to share this with who will understand and support you. Then open the hatch and let out your pain. When my counselor opened my hatch, it led to such deep sobbing that I could not drive and had to pull over on the side of the highway. It may begin in another place for you, but tears are a normal part of the healing process.
Once your hatch is open you can begin to discern your internal beliefs, both positive and negative. Sit quietly and allow your feelings to surface and write down those that become clear. Then if you find yourself feeling like a failure as you go through the day, put failure on your negative list. If you find you are loyal to your friends and spouse, put loyal on the positive side of the list. You will create a complete positive and negative belief list as you continue your journey to healing. Then as you begin to transform those negative feelings about yourself, freeing yourself to be happy with yourself, it will be far easier to be happy with your family.
Becoming emotionally transparent with ourselves is not easy, yet good news is it is so freeing . Allow yourself to move through the pain rather than saying that’s enough and shutting your hatch once more.
Join us next week as we continue the healing the heart process with the blog topic, grieving. Go forward through the process, letting your heart grieve so that it heals.
If you’d like to review the previous Healing the Heart blogs, visit our Revive Family website.