Often people come to therapy because daily life has gotten overwhelming or difficult to cope with. Sometimes a difficult or traumatic event causes people to seek counseling. Today I wanted to provide encouragement to keep going in counseling and/or the healing process even after the daily problems are resolved. Healing wounded hearts is possible if you are willing to continue to work at it even after daily life begins to feel better.
One of the first blocks to addressing all the way down to the heart level is a lack of depth. Going deep is where healing happens and not just symptom management. It’s tempting to claim a ‘win’ when you start to feel better and don’t have the daily struggles that brought you into counseling. In my experience daily struggles are just the tip of the emotional iceberg and there is usually something underneath that could use healing. Go deep in the journey, be willing to overturn some rocks or dive to the bottom of the sea. Our problems always have varying levels from the very practical and observable all the way down to deep emotional hurts in our past. Continue to persist in uncovering all the layers necessary in order to reach the level of the hurt.
This leads to the next encouragement; don’t be afraid of what’s hiding underneath! It can be really scary to go deep and dig into long hidden problems. Our painful past doesn’t just go away, it stays with us and transforms us in sometimes surprising ways. Don’t stop your healing journey when daily life becomes easier again. Fear will prevent you from truly addressing the deeper level hurts which need healing. Part of overcoming fear is feeling like you can handle whatever may come up. This is a good place to add expressive or mindfulness techniques so that you can remind yourself that in the present you are doing well. The time to peel back all those layers and heal your heart is after you are stable and prepared with coping in the present. Remember that hidden hurts can’t heal.
My last encouragement to go deep, overcome fear and truly heal your heart is to allow love in. 1 John 4:18 talks about how when there is fear God’s love cannot come in and heal us, change us, or perfect us. Hurting, broken hearts need to allow love in. First, they need to open up to God’s perfect love which will never hurt and always heal. After this healing begins, then the love from other people and even the healthy love of self can enter. This is the stage transformation happens. When the heart is healed people change from living with their problem to overcoming and having a victory over the problem. Serious painful injuries leave scars, whether that is physical or emotional. When love can come in and transform those hurts then we are left with scars instead of wounds. A scar is a reminder of where we’ve been and how we’ve changed.
Seeing so many people change for the better I know healing hearts is possible. Have courage, go deep, and let love in. Peel back all those protective layers and as you do you will begin to transform from ‘living with’ to ’healed from’.