Monday, April 18, 2011

Feeling Brings Healing

Healing from hurts is a messy, long and sometimes frightening process, but one day you wake up and realize that you are a little bit better, and from there you can see the good things just as much as the painful ones. I'm learning to feel what hurts at the time that it hurts me, and not stuff it down to deal with another day. That's how I used to manage things, but when I didn't allow it to ever see the light of day, it would control me much more than I wanted it to, without ever once realizing that was happening.

Now that I'm striving for authenticity in my emotions, and trying to take responsibility for my decisions and actions, and being who I am in all settings, I know that my feelings are a key to my overall health. I can't pretend that I'm okay when I'm not. This makes some social situations a little messier than they used to be, because that vulnerability lives just under my skin and can bring me to tears at any time, but I'm not hiding that any longer.

Feeling brings healing. I see that now in a way that I didn't before. My armor was so carefully constructed and built on an image that I fought hard to maintain, but I was deeply disconnected from my true emotions. Now that I am allowing them more free rein, I can grieve or rage or delight, and know that I won't stay forever in that state. It will pass, and something else will move in to take its place. And that will continue to happen, every day that I am alive.

No matter how hard something is to go through, if we experience the deepest levels of feeling associated with the situation, we have a better chance of healing from it and moving on without holding on to bitterness. Someone once said that "bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping that someone else will die from it." I held on to grudges for a lot of my life, and only recently discovered that my unacknowledged anger was hurting me more than the person I was bitter at.

Forgiveness can release me from the grip of other people's choices. I am only responsible for my own decisions, and I don't want to be tied to what others do by holding on to my hurt and bitterness. Forgiving is like grabbing a huge pair of scissors and cutting the cord that connects me to someone else. I prefer to be free than to be resentful and angry. If it sounds easy, it's anything but. It's one of the hardest things there is, but I've heard Dr. Phil ask, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?" Now, at this stage of my life, I pick happy.

I love that every day I have a choice. I can be myself, or I can pretend to be someone else so I might be liked by more people. I can be kind, or I can be rude. I can give to others, or I can be selfish. And I can feel the appropriate emotion for the situation I'm in, and not try to force it away. If I feel it, it will go away when it has done its work and accomplished what it was there to do. I'm beginning to trust in that process, and know that I don't have to have the answers, I just have to feel what I'm feeling.

It's good to move into this season of my life. One where who I am takes precedence over everything else. When I mess up, I'm still okay, because I am no longer the same as what I do. I can experience love that is not tied in to my performance. I deserve to be loved for who I am, and when I am hurt and disappointed by others, I can feel the pain, and eventually move on from it.

I don't even have to seek healing for my heart because it will come if I will be brave enough to walk through the emotions I feel at any given time. I don't want to be bitter and angry any longer. I choose freedom, and forgiveness, and a road which offers grace instead of judgement, for myself and for others.

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