Happy Hump Day everyone!
Hopefully most of you are either not working today or this is your last day of work for the week. I am sure many of you might be approaching tomorrow with some anxiety knowing you will be spending time with your family. I feel your pain. Don’t worry I am not going to write about how you should spend tomorrow appreciating your family. Nor am I going to talk about being thankful (although you should be.)
I wanted to talk about something that men rarely discuss, think about or seek: emotional healing. Now before you stop reading, give me just 5 more minutes and then you can feel free to ignore me.
Life is hard. I don’t care who you are or where you come from. Life and the toll it takes on our lives, especially as men, is not something to blow off. There is this assumption that as men we don’t have to deal with emotional trauma in our lives. We should simply be strong enough to take the hit and keep on going. Scars heal and as we all know chicks dig scars. That might be true but the emotional ones aren’t so well liked.
The emotional issues we struggle with can come from anywhere. Perhaps you had an abusive parent, family member, teacher etc. You may have suffered a terrible injury or accident that not only destroyed parts of your physical body but also did a number on your emotions and soul. I couldn’t possibly come up with a list of all the possible scenarios where you may have experienced a deep emotional hurt. You may have lost a parent long before their time, maybe even a child. My point is, it doesn’t matter who, what or why this pain occured. Your hurt is very real. As a man you need to face that hurt and do your best to seek healing.
I know it sounds awkward to discuss among men. However, it only feels that way because guys are programmed not to share emotions with other men. And under no circumstances are we do so with the opposite sex for fear they will see us as weak. We simply can’t have that; even if such a statement is far from the truth.
Healing is not simply the idea of “getting over” something that has happened in our lives. Most of the time such an approach only means we bury it deep in our souls and ignore it, hoping it just goes away. Over time it eventually feels like that is what has happened and in our minds we think healing has occurred.
Speaking from experience I can tell you, healing has not occurred. Instead you have now planted seeds into that burial ground that will fester and take on the shadow of those things you think are gone for good. Whatever that hurt is, it will continue to color your world, decisions and especially your emotional reactions for the rest of your life. It becomes so subtle you don’t realize it, but future relationships are heavily influenced by it. Friendships, marriages and jobs ruined or destroyed because we buried things rather than uproot them and destroy them once and for all.
Depending on what you are dealing with you may not ever truly get closure to something but that is not the same as being healed. You may never get the chance to confront a parent about their abusive ways. You may never get the chance to talk through why that woman you were in love with broke your heart. The boss, who unjustly fired you, may never be available to discuss the real reasons you were let go etc.
The challenge of seeking and getting healing often times will fall to us as individuals. I always hope you will turn to God and seek healing and comfort from the greatest comforter of all.
“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Yet I know not all of you feel that way about God. It is my prayer you will consider turning to God and asking for his help. There is also nothing wrong with seeking the help of a counselor or psychologist to work through your pain and hurt. I understand the stigma. When I was in college I sought counseling for some issues I was dealing with and it was difficult to make that choice, but it really did help me.
My point is this: doing nothing is not the right answer. Burying your pain and loss in alcohol, drugs, sex and other destructive behavior only numbs the pain for so long. Eventually the crop you growing in your soul will come due for harvest and wreak havoc in your life. Continuing to chase numbness and coping mechanisms will never, ever do the trick.A long time ago I went through a very difficult emotional period in my life. It was the first time in my life when I felt physical pain because of emotional trauma. I was convinced a part of my heart, literally my physical heart, had died. Furthermore, I believed a part of my soul had been eaten away permanently. I believed it would never come back. It would be forever missing. I should have sought counseling. I didn’t. I thought about it many times. The thing that stopped me was that I had convinced myself what I was dealing with was so minor (in comparison) to what others have dealt with I should just be able to recover on my own. Despite the intense emotional and physical pain, I thought I was probably overreacting. It certainly didn’t make the pain any less. I just decided that perhaps I was being a pussy (sorry that is just being honest) and that other guys don’t feel what I felt nor get so messed up over a similar issue.
Eventually I couldn’t do it anymore though. I was so miserable inside even if most people had no idea from the outside. I still didn’t seek counseling. However, I did turn to God. I begged him to please help me. I couldn’t take the pain anymore. I had no idea what I needed so I just asked him to give me what I needed. It wasn’t any more complex than that. I remember telling him that I had no idea how I can get over this huge whole in my heart and soul but that I trusted he did. I had to confess that alone there was no way I could get out of this hole I was in. That was it. It might sound simple or even stupid but that is what I did. I just happened to do it over and over and over again.
I remember being in so much pain all I could do was lay there and cry out to God. The only words I could mutter were “please God, please help me, please, please, please.” I would say this over and over, sometimes sobbing, sometimes in anger but all the time in distress.
This is not the story of a miraculous healing. I often didn’t feel better after praying to God. Sometimes I even felt worse, as if the healing I was so desperate for was now even further away. It took years to get to a place where I was okay with what happened. Even then I wasn’t 100% healed. Some emotional pain takes a long time to come back from and there might even be times when we might never get back to 100%. I do know that only God can do that kind of restoration.
It is a constant and continual process and we must accept this fact. It will take time and there isn’t a lot we can do to speed up that process. The alternative (i.e. burying it down deep inside) however, should never be an option even if it seems easier to you.
Face the pain of your hurt. If you don’t, it will cripple future relationships with your wife, children, grand-children and every other person who cares about you.
I want to hear from you on this topic so please comment above or below and let me know your own thoughts! In the meantime I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving and I hope it is filled with laughs, love, food and football!
Until tomorrow, make it a better day!