We’ve all been hurt. Some more deeply than others. And, for some, in a complex and desperate attempt, they seek to protect themselves from the pain of their past. The problem is that in time, when least expected, the strong and secure facade cracks. The hurt begins to ooze out. And, sometimes the pain is too great to bear.
We do not have to go to war to be wounded. Each one of us in some way carries hidden wounds.
Here are some prescriptive measures to begin the healing process.
1. Arm yourself with an attitude.
We do not always have control over what happens to us, but we do have control over what happens in us. And what happens in us is far more important than what happens to us.
A crippled boy, selling pots and pans from door to door, had a lady say to him, “Being crippled must color your life.” He said, “Yes ma’am, it does. But I choose the color.”
2. Forgive the offender.
Forgiveness releases our pain. A failure to forgive makes one a hostage to their own hate. We don’t hold a grudge as much as the grudge holds us. Bitterness becomes like a cancer eating away at our insides. Resentment is like taking hot coals in our hands.
3. Let go of the past.
It is often said, “What’s done is done. You can’t relive the past.” While we can’t relive the past, we often recall it and replay it and rehearse it. What we need to do is release it.
In his book, Lee: The Last Years, Charles Bracelen Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old oak tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss.
After a brief silence, Lee said, “Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it.”
Lee knew that it is better to let go of the injustices of the past than to allow them to remain. Let bitterness take root and it will poison the rest of one’s life.
4. Face the future.
We stop living in denial, pretending it doesn’t hurt. We stop trying to fake it, pretending it doesn’t exist. When we focus on the future, the hurts from the past will fade away, because there is a universal law that goes into operation. It states: When we focus on one thing it tends to cause us to forget something else. The key to letting go is refocusing.
5. Learn to love.
Medical doctor Bernie Siegel said, “I am convinced that unconditional love is the most powerful known stimulant of the immune system. If I told patients to raise their blood levels or immune globulins or killer T cells, no one would know how. But if I teach them to love themselves and others fully, the same changes happen automatically. The truth is love heals. . . . Remember I said love heals. I do not claim love cures everything, but it can heal and in the process of healing cures occur also.”
Practice these steps and in time your hidden wounds will begin to heal.