“What do you do?”
When people ask me that question, my response usually includes, “I work with people who need emotional healing and mindset coaching.” CLICK HERE to learn more about what I do.
And, in reply, most people say, “That’s great! There are so many people who need that.”
Which I find… interesting.
Because it seems like the common attitude is – yes, there are plenty of people suffering and in need of help. But – I’m obviously not one of them.
It’s true that the word “healing,” just like the phrase “mental health,” can trigger a lot of judgment.
Sometimes, though, it feels as if we have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy around it.
There’s an idea that you only need healing if you’re broken.
But what if we imagine healing differently?
What if we think of emotional healing as more like getting a massage? What if it’s something that can benefit anyone and everyone?
Why you might need emotional healing (if you don’t think you do!)
In the case of massages, there are people with chronic aches and pains who need massages regularly, without fail.
But everyone gets muscle tightness somewhere in their body once in a while, and everyone can benefit from the occasional relaxing massage.
I assert that a massage is something that can enhance our quality of life to be happier and healthier, whether or not we’re in obvious pain.
And that’s similar to emotional healing.
While some people urgently need emotional healing and find it life-changing, the rest of us can benefit from the occasional healing too.
Just as a massage can make us suddenly realize how tight our muscles have become, a good emotional healing session can attune us to the stresses, grudges and resentments we’ve been carrying around, and allow us to release them.
A weight gets lifted off our shoulders; tension evaporates; we feel lighter and happier.
You don’t have to be in obvious, agonizing pain to benefit from emotional healing.
Most of us are less aware of our emotions than we might think – in fact, as the psychologist Tasha Eurich and author of the book Insight puts it, almost nobody is fully self-aware.
And even when we are tuned into our emotions, we tend to try to ignore them because we don’t know how to handle them.
This is one of the ways that we learned to get through life – by not dealing with uncomfortable feelings.
When we don’t deal with emotional stressors in a healthy way, we can end up holding it all in until we can’t anymore.
It may be a conscious or unconscious process, but the end result is the same: we withdraw from particular areas of our lives to protect ourselves.
Behaviors that can benefit from emotional healing
Here are four types of behaviors that indicate a person may not be processing or handling their emotions in 100% healthy ways.
If you fall into one of these categories, you could probably benefit from emotional healing in some shape or form.
And bear in mind that you may find yourself identifying with multiple behaviors here (plus, that there are also always exceptions to the rule)!
1. The I’m-Broken People
I don’t like to use the word “broken”. But the people in this category often think of themselves as broken, because that’s what they were told.
If this is you, you may already realize that you need help, possibly because others have told you so.
You might find yourself experiencing very strong emotions and sometimes feel incapacitated by them.
You may also feel paralyzed by your situation and might be actively seeking for help in order to forward with your life.
For this group of people, emotional healing has obvious benefits.
It can empower you to process hurts from your past that are holding you back from fully engaging with life, and learn how to deal with triggering emotions such as anxiety, grief, anger, or guilt.
It can enable you to move past limiting beliefs about yourself and other people, which are holding you back from taking risks and going for what you want in life.
And it can help you transform an inner dialogue dominated by phrases like “I can’t” and “I shouldn’t” into a more positive mindset that embraces words like “I can” and “I will.”
People like this are ideal candidates for emotional healing because they haven’t given up on themselves. And they are willing to work at improving their situations.
If this sounds like you, you’re probably looking for tools, strategies and support, as you already know where you want to go and what you’d like to achieve.
One of my clients perfectly embodies the broken one.
The first time I spoke with her, we talked for two hours about her painful life story, and how she felt unable to pursue her dream of becoming a dancer on Broadway because of it.
Despite thinking she was “broken,” she wanted help moving forward.
After working together for six months and experiencing a lot of healing and emotional releases, she achieved some major results.
She finally started believing in herself enough to go for her dreams. She shared an amazing experience with the Broadway cast of Chicago recording a CD for Broadway Cares — Yes she is officially on broadway.com! On top of that, she is working hard and showing up to every single audition to make it onto her first Broadway show.
A year ago, she would never have had the confidence or self-belief to pursue such an ambitious goal.
But she’s currently working to make it happen and taking daily, concrete steps toward accomplishing her dream.
You can do the same.
2. The I-Don’t-Know-What-To-Do-With-These-Feelings People
These people often feel like victims of their circumstances and emotions.
In fact, if this is you, you may feel like a victim of the entire world, because you feel so powerless.
And this feeling usually manifests itself in a tendency to throw your emotions onto other people.
You may throw your anger onto others (running the risk of appearing pushy or grumpy…)
Perhaps you tend to throw your sadness around (but you worry about coming off as whiny or depressed…)
Maybe you just throw around your mood swings (which can result in others calling you dramatic or too much to handle…)
Or possibly you just dump ALL your emotions onto others… which probably isn’t having a great impact on your relationships!
The problem is, though, that you might not actually realize that you’re throwing your emotions around in this way.
In your mind, you’re just letting off steam and expressing some of what’s been building up inside of you…
But the reality is, you need another outlet.
You need emotional healing to help you find another way of dealing with your emotions.
A client of mine who’s a real estate agent exemplified this kind of behavior.
She’d been cheated out of a previous real estate deal, and after spending a lot of money on hiring a lawyer, it turned out that nobody could help her.
As a result, she was struggling to start over.
However, despite her best efforts, she sometimes felt so overwhelmed by anger and frustration about the entire situation that she couldn’t get herself out of bed.
She felt powerless, was fixated on the injustice she had suffered, and found herself obsessed with bringing justice to the situation.
Together, we adopted a different approach to the incident. We focused on inner work that would enable her to process her anger and start healing from the event, even if we couldn’t fix the injustice itself.
To do this, we worked on validating her feelings and on releasing some of the beliefs she had created as a result of the incident.
At the end of our sessions, she felt like she’d regained control over her life and emotional state. She was finally able to move past the anger she had been throwing at everyone around her.
This is what emotional healing is ultimately all about.
It enables you to move forward with your life, in spite of painful situations that you can’t necessarily change or fix.
3. The I-Want-To-Push-These-Feelings-Away People
This was my personal category, and if you’re an emotional eater, it’s probably your category too!
But emotional eating isn’t the only way people exhibit this kind of behavior.
Some people deal with uncomfortable emotions by burying themselves in work as a distraction; others seek solace in a bottle of wine; others grab the remote control and binge on Netflix; and others dig into a tub of ice cream.
We all have our own ways of dealing with uncomfortable feelings to momentarily numb them.
And we all have the same hope – that when we’re done with whatever distraction we’ve chosen, the situation will have resolved itself and the uncomfortable feelings will have magically disappeared.
CASE STUDY #1
One of my clients noticed this type of behavior in an interaction with the man she was “kind of” in a relationship with.
She was feeling frustrated by how their relationship existed in such a grey area, so she asked the man directly why he didn’t make more of an effort to see her.
Although he was usually very responsive to her messages, he didn’t answer this one.
He got upset and didn’t talk to her for the next two days.
Finally, she got a call from him three days later. Instead of answering her question, he spent the entire conversation telling her that she was making a career decision.
The attack on her career seemed like a distraction – a way of pushing down his uncomfortable feelings triggered by her initial question by confronting her about something completely unrelated.
This is a common way that buried emotions or resentments can have unexpected consequences.
Those emotions often rise up to the surface, despite our best intentions. As Psychology Today puts it, “when we choose to bury our feelings, we act differently.”
Often, they cause us to lash out – or even just make little jabs – at important people in our lives.
CASE STUDY #2
For instance, I know a woman in her sixties who’s been married for over 40 years. She’s adamant that she needs no emotional healing whatsoever. And she often says: “To live a happy life, just remember the good times and forget the bad times.”
However, on a daily basis, she makes little jabs at her husband. These jabs are usually about things he did or didn’t do from as far back as forty years ago.
Despite her call to forget the bad times, she clearly still remembers and thinks about them.
And this is usually a sign that those small events have hurt us in some way. That despite trying to forget about them and “let them go”, they’re still with us, alive and well.
Little jokes and jabs may seem harmless at first.
But imagine hearing them for forty years? It’s like death by a thousand paper cuts.
This is why emotional healing can be especially beneficial both for this type of person and for the people in their lives.
4. The I-Don’t-Feel-Anything People
This last group are in denial of their emotions altogether.
They’re typically very good problem-solvers, but often don’t let themselves feel their emotions and instead jump straight to handling whatever situation has made them feel that way.
For example, I was working with a successful businesswoman who was criticized for the way she did things at work. When I asked how she felt about that, she said: “It doesn’t affect me.”
Similarly, when asked about her marriage, she responded in a way that indicated a similar unwillingness to share her emotions. She told me: “I know how to hold my boundaries around my husband.”
As that was all she wanted to say about her feelings, the conversation didn’t go much further.
These people often think, “Why even talk about my feelings? What’s the point? It won’t solve the problem anyway.”
However, if this sounds like you, you should know that acknowledging your feelings is the first step toward good emotional health.
Because not feeling uncomfortable feelings also limits the positive feelings you can feel, such as peace, love, and contentment.
As you dismiss your anger, frustration, and angst, you hamper your ability to feel joyful feelings too.
The way this woman had resolved her situations was by building walls all around her – what I call an electric fence.
After all, with an electric fence, you don’t even have to cross it to get shocked.
This woman became exceptionally well protected from attacks and negative emotions. But the walls around her heart were so solid that I’m not even sure the people closest to her, who would otherwise bring her most joy, could penetrate them.
And that’s the problem with “electric fences.” People put them up out of a desire for self-preservation, but forget that they can’t be taken down at a moment’s notice.
If you think you’ve fallen into this trap, you probably did so because of a good reason.
Maybe you’ve been badly hurt before and didn’t think you had a choice. Maybe you thought this was the only way to protect yourself from getting hurt again.
I want you to know, healthy boundaries can exist.
You can add a door to your fence, where you willingly welcome people in and out of your life, and create fulfilling and meaningful relationships.
First, though, you have to heal the root cause of that electric fence. It requires you to dig into the hurts that provoked you to put the fence up in the first place.
Who do you want to be?
As a final note while you consider if you might benefit from emotional healing, read the story of Carrot, Egg, and Coffee.
All three were subjected to a test of boiling water. It was hot and burning, just like the painful experiences we encounter in life.
Carrot went into the water strong, hard and unrelenting. But after being subjected to it for a few minutes, she couldn’t help but soften and become weak.
Egg, on the other hand, started out fragile. She had a thin outer shell to protect her liquid interior. But after enduring the boiling water, her insides became hardened and solid.
Coffee reacted differently. After her beans went into the boiling water… the water came away changed.
Which one are you, Carrot, Egg, or Coffee?
And which one would you like to be?
Tell me in the comments!
Emotional healing can help you to become more like Coffee: able to manage your emotions without losing who you are.
To see how emotional healing can help you transform your emotional state for the better, visit my Work With Me page to book a free consultation with me, or watch my free webinar training on 3 ways to stop your past mistakes from repeating themselves.