I work with clients on a daily basis who are still trying to heal from emotional, mental, and physical wounds inflicted upon them years ago. Of course, we can look at a woman who has been beaten by her spouse and say, “Well obviously, she has wounds she needs to heal from,” but rarely do we look at the obese mother, or acne-covered teenager, or socially withdrawn co-worker and wonder, “What happened to them?”
Typically, our first response is, “you eat too much,” or “you should take better care of your skin,” or “just lighten up,” instead of going to that space of compassion and understanding. I am a strong believer in the idea that what you see physically is the final manifestation of deep-seeded anger, guilt, or self-loathing.
The obese mother may be coping with the fact that she was teased relentlessly throughout her college years by friends and family when she gained the “Freshman Fifteen.” What most people see as a joke, or light teasing, she took to heart, and from that point forward began building a wall – literally – around herself so that the hurtful words wouldn’t hurt so much.
In the case of the acne-ed teenager, maybe he was told by someone, (usually a person of importance) that he was ugly and would never be good-looking enough to “get the girl”. Again, he internalizes this statement, gets angry but doesn’t show it, and it ends up on his face in the form of bright red spots.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
When I work with clients who are carrying old hurts, we often begin with the straight facts of the story. Then we dig into the emotion of the situation. How did they feel? How did they react at the time? What choices did they make – consciously or sub-consciously – as a result of the situation? Did they even realize that they were still carrying this hurt?
Once we can begin to identify the cause, then we can begin to heal the pain, and ultimately release the words that have harmed us for so long, allowing us to become more light-hearted, free, and loved individuals.
So be kind. You never know what type of damage you might inflict upon others – or for how long – and that can be a heavy burden to carry for the person on the other end.