I have a tendency to want to work through surrounding circumstances immediately so I can move on from whatever the feeling or situation is as soon as possible.
I have been to counseling and read enough shame/vulnerability/emotional health books to know that if I do what I really want to do and avoid it all, well, that just makes things worse in the long run. So my solution to the avoiding is processing and figuring out as much as I can, as soon as possible, and quickly moving on. However, as I sit here writing this, I am slowly learning that is not the next best solution.
Thinking back on my years in college, these were some of the hardest and most transformative years of my life and I believe I will say the same when looking back decades from now. These years are where I began truly learning about how I am wired and finding confidence in who I am.
As I learned, and continue learning, about myself and how to process my emotions in a healthy way, when hard situations come up it is now my default to dig into that situation and learn exactly how and why I feel the way I do. This action at its core is healthy, but the immediacy of what I want to accomplish is not always healthy.
This morning I noticed a patch of skin peeling on my right index finger. The skin had been peeling for a few days and I just brushed it off. However, this morning I was trying to remember if that skin was peeling for a particular reason and it took me a few moments to remember what had happened there. I burned that part of my finger a couple of weeks ago on a curling iron. In the moment it burned I tended to it, but over time the pain lessened and my body began to heal itself on its own, in its own time, and in its own healthy way.
This made me think about how I often try to speed up (or avoid) the healing process for my emotional wounds. I would spend countless hours digging into my thoughts and feelings to try and find the core of my hurt so that I can nurse myself back to health and continue on as I always have. However, when we receive physical injuries, we cannot rush the body’s process of healing. So why am I constantly trying to rush my emotional process of healing?
A verse I read over many times one semester was Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” This is a highly commercialized verse that often gets slapped on a bumper sticker or hung up in pretty lettering on someone’s living room wall. However, that semester I dug into the depth of the verse word by word and it changed the way I live. Two years later, I am brought back to that verse and everything I learned from it. What does it look like to BE?
Right now for me, what does it look like to BE in a world-wide pandemic? What does it look like for me to BE in my hurt? What does it look like for me to stop hustling to find the source of my hurt so I can move on, but instead BE in the healing process?
When I burned my finger, I tended to the burn in the ways I needed to and then I let go. I let my finger be and let my body be the one doing the healing. Then when I was not even noticing, the burn was being healed. Our bodies were created to do amazing things and often I try to take control while thinking I can out smart what my body was naturally made to do.
I believe this is the same for my emotional wounds. I tend to my emotions and the trauma I experience when they come. But what am I doing if I let processing these emotions consume my thinking? So often I try to control my mind and feelings. I try to control and rush my personal healing process so I can get back to what I view as strong. However, I do not believe I will fully be able to move forward in this mind set.
But what would happen if I were to just BE?
What would happen if I stopped trying to dig at every little emotion or put a logical spin on them, but instead felt my emotions? Honestly, I don’t know how to fully do that and it terrifies me. I imagine a HUGE wave engulfing me when I think about truly feeling each of my emotions or when I think of really allowing myself to be hurt and not trying to fight or dig.
My initial thought in really feeling each of my emotions is I would lose all control. But in reality, I believe there would be all consuming freedom in that space.