Iyanla Vanzant wrote, “Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; But eventually, it will ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, Stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them.”
I used this quote in my writing before, but I was reminded of this particular quote again, late last week. I’ve mentioned that we are having all sorts of fun with home renovations and repairs this spring. We all know that when it comes to home projects, that these projects beget more projects, and then more projects, and all the while profusely bleeding money, with sanity flowing out the door, as well. So much fun. Ha!
We had drywallers out last week to repair holes in walls from a plumbing break, and also to do some cosmetic changes in our bedrooms which we are switching all around. While repairing one of our walls, by a large picture window in our kitchen, the drywallers discovered a mess underneath the Wall. There had been a roof leak and while the leak had long been repaired, with a brand new roof, before we even moved into our house, the damage had already seeped into the wall. This roof leak caused all sorts of wood rot and decay in the wall which remained and festered and weakened, unbeknownst to us.
My second son is graduating from college at the end of the month. In light of this, our contractor hesitantly gave us the option to just quickly plaster the wall back up, as a temporary cosmetic fix. As disgusting as the sheer plastic looks, over the disintegrating entrails of the inside of our wall, (right now, I feel like I am living in the Amityville Horror, because of holes in parts of the wall, the plastic sheeting moves in and out rhythmically, as if the house were breathing), we chose not to do the quick fix. I’m pretty sure that the quick fix is probably what the previous owners chose to do. But deep down, we know that this problem must be fixed now, for the long term health and structure of our home, and for those it so stoutly houses and comforts and protects.
You can see where I am going with this analogy. The yucky stuff underneath doesn’t magically go away, just because you cover it up with something. The wounds underneath will fester and grow and become infected and seep out and affect everything around you, until you face the demons. And we all have them. We think we fool people with what image that we are imagining that we are portraying out to the world, but usually we are just fooling ourselves. Plus its lonely living an image. You can’t have a real, authentic relationship with yourself or with anyone else, if you aren’t willing to expose what is inside and outside – the good, the bad and the ugly.
It’s the strongest people in the world, who admit they have problems and look for ways to heal. And usually, healing is often just a matter of the process of feeling your feelings. Healing is allowing ourselves to feel, and to move through those feelings. I was watching a Red Table Talk episode recently. The guest was a therapist and writer named Michaela Boehm. Michaela was helping people on the show deal with all sorts of grief: the ending of relationships, the burning down of a home, even people grieving the loss of their big wedding plans because of COVID. She recommended that the people write (in their own handwriting) letters, never to be seen by anyone else, every single day, just getting every feeling and emotion and “revenge fantasy” out until there was no feeling left. She then said that when you finally get to that point of real detachment, you then create for yourself a little personal ritual that puts an ending and a form of closure to whatever it is that you are grieving. She suggested perhaps burning all of the letters which you have written. She emphasized the importance of not rushing the process. You will know when the time has come for the closing ritual. You will know.
That’s another important point Michaela Boehm made. In her words:
“Here’s a horrible truth. We don’t misjudge.” This came after a person was talking about losing a sense of trust in themselves and their own discernment, after being deceived in a relationship. Michaela said this, “The learning isn’t to become better at distinguishing it (referring to red flags, etc.), the learning is to listen to ourselves and to not override what we know is true.” In other words, stop putting all of the focus on the other person and what they are doing, and instead put that energy into being attuned to yourself and to your standards and to believe in your own “knowing”. Michaela said that we so often want the fairytale in our minds to be true, that we ignore the reality of what we see.
I think this is what is meant with all of this talk of creating a relationship with ourselves. This is why it is so important to become willing to open up the plaster walls and to face what is inside. To acknowledge our Pain, and to accept our pain, and to feel our pain, is the only way to love ourselves back to health. And the beauty of doing this work of self-reflection, self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-love, is that we become clean and whole, from the inside out, and that healthy energy, in turn, attracts more of the same into our lives, in the form of our relationships and in our every day circumstances. I will close with the mantra that you have seen practically every single day on this blog, this year. It bears repeating:
Are you passing on love, or are you passing on pain? Heal your pain and pass on love.
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