Living in the past, with unresolved emotional pain, can lead to continual unhappiness and bitterness. Here’s how to heal the scars and claim your life back.
People we love are killed, maimed and mentally broken in war. But the sad truth is we can be at war in our own life.
I used to be at war myself. I was angry about “stuff”; others’ “wrongs”. I was argumentative, judgmental & critical, defensive and felt inferior. I felt I was right and, therefore, others must be wrong. That made me self righteous and impatient. Steve Ventura said, “No two people are exactly the same. So, if being different was to equal being wrong, EVERYONE would be wrong—including YOU!”
Our heart and soul are distressed when our minds have all these negative thoughts about ourselves and toward others. I didn’t realize I was at war. We usually are not aware of what that war is doing to us, physically and mentally. The insanity of it is, we ALL do it!
Think about how your body feels when you’re having a conflict with someone. How are these negative thoughts toward this person affecting your body? Are you peaceful and calm or uptight and tense? Has the cortisol for fight-or-flight kicked in? Reflect on your “suffering situation” and feel your heart’s sentiment. Ask yourself if maintaining your angst is worth the price you will pay in poor health. Consider your possibilities and calculate the consequences of your attitudes. Does your heart feel at ease or dis-eased?
Dr. Carolyn Leaf explains in her book Who Stole My Brain? that your cells have a memory and negative thoughts bring sickness and disease into our body. Those destructive thoughts brought me cancer with a diagnosis of six weeks to live. Time now is so precious and I don’t want to waste a minute more in negative attitudes of retaliation. Forgiveness becomes easier when we realize people are not our enemies.
I didn’t want to be the ‘loser’. My pride said I was justified…and I was. But that didn’t change the consequences of the effects on my health. I could have discarded those negative attitudes sooner, “But”. There always seems to be the justifying “But”.
Emotional wounds can and do come from others. However, most of us inflict wounds upon ourselves. Emotionally living in the past and wishing it were different can bring anger, bitterness, guilt and regret. Sometimes we can have excessive guilt. We may endeavour to correct something we have done in the past. Sometimes to release our own pain we blame others and attempt to pass on the guilt trip to them. Guilt destroys our self-worth and then we self-sabotage any possible success because we don’t feel worthy of blessings and happiness.
Continual unhappiness and bitterness will dog our future if we choose to live in the past with unresolved emotional scars and grudges. Because the war of negativity consumes us, we get more of what we don’t want. It is the law of attraction working against us.
I am not suggesting you ‘should’ let go of your grievances. But for me, reconciliation came by putting myself in the other person’s shoes and then simply communicating my heart to the person with transparency. We created a win–win situation by sharing our concerns honestly and openly in a “heart-to-heart” understanding and in a non-judgmental and non-demanding way.
When we concede other people will have different value systems that, from their perspective, are as right as our are, we become willing to find mutual ways of working together. In this way, everyone wins.
When my forgiveness was genuine and complete and the event released, my heart was at ease. Forgiveness was the scalpel that totally removed the oozing infection from those old emotional wounds. I was justified and “hurt” by the war of words, but forgiveness was therapeutic. Forgiveness healed and even eliminated the scar tissue.
Genuine forgiveness sterilizes the wound so it cannot be re-infected. Genuine forgiveness cancels the wrong, making it as if the wrong never had existed. It is the trump card that releases joy to flow and breaks the supremacy of the past over us. Dr. Maxwell Maltz says if you will forgive you will be far happier, healthier and attain more peace of mind.
Satir said, “The world is a better place because I am in it.” The war is over.