Most of us relate healing to the physical body only. When someone gets scrapes a knee, sprains an ankle or gets a headache, they seek treatment immediately without hesitation. Band-aids, a cast, Panadol, and over-the-counter medicine.
But we are made up of more than just a physical body, and our psyche is often forgotten or neglected when it comes to healing.
Life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, and oftentimes it feels like there are more downs than anything else. Conflicts that seem to come one after another without really being resolved, goals that never seem to manifest into results, a depressing work environment, endless responsibilities that we didn’t ask for to fulfil, the list is endless. These things all build up into stresses and emotional damage that we don’t know how to deal with, and it ends up manifesting in our physical body. It traps us in a self-destructive cycle, an endless loop of negativity festering in our minds which ends up attracting even more negativity into our lives.
Therein lies the importance of healing, not just on the outside, but from within as well. But while people often rush to cure themselves or at least alleviate the pain from physical injuries and illnesses, they shy away from any notion of dealing with the inside, the emotional, the psyche. They wield their fevers and flus as weapons to get an off-day but treat any mental illness or emotional trauma as a weakness to be hidden, or their worth would be undermined.
Mental and emotional vulnerability are not weaknesses
There is a stigma surrounding mental illnesses and emotional vulnerability that says that people suffering from these things are weaker, more unstable, and hence less capable. They end up getting shunned or ignored because people are fearful and think that there is something wrong with having mental illnesses or displaying emotional vulnerability when this should not be the case.
These people become afraid to seek help and end up trying to deal with their emotional needs on their own in a way that worsens them. They start associating emotions with weakness and suppress their pain, anger and sadness and put up masks to show that they’re alright when in fact, they’re dying or already dead inside. Gradually, they become better at suppressing themselves that they no longer are in touch with their emotions and lose themselves as a person. They don’t know who they are anymore, because they put up all these masks that are just that – masks.
People are made up of physical bodies, their intellect and their emotions. These work together to allow us to function and live like we are alive and not merely existing. If one or more parts are damaged and left that way, the person will start to become sub-functional, only capable of surviving and meeting practical needs. Think of it like a car, which has many parts that work together to allow it to function at its maximum capacity. Our bodies are the structure and body of the car, our intellect is the steering wheel, and our emotions are the engines that drive it. If there is an issue with the wheels or the engine, we can’t resolve it by pretending the issues are not there or by slapping a new coat of paint onto the car and presenting it as brand new and highly functional. If a car’s body is dented or scratched, we can’t resolve it by replacing the wheels or the engine.
People are built similarly – we can’t heal by pretending we have no problems to begin with, and we can’t heal by compensating with something else that is separate.
Numbing pain is not the same as healing it
Unfortunately, we are all so conditioned to think that pain and feelings are weaknesses, and most of us are experts at suppressing them and we have mastered it into an art called “numbing”, to the point where we say, “I can’t feel anything anymore,” or “I don’t feel anything”.
And that simply isn’t true. While the stigma plays a significant role in encouraging the notion that emotional vulnerability is a weakness, it is more of a subconscious decision that we made, to stop feeling, in a moment where emotional pain was at its height, and we were not equipped to deal with it.
That is not to say that being numb or shutting down for a while is bad or wrong, but if we don’t start to work towards lifting this weight suppressing our emotions eventually, we are going to remain in a stagnant state for a long time, and life is not going to move forward and get better that way.
Allowing yourself to feel again is the first step towards healing. It is not a sign of weakness. It is the beginning of growth and evolution, of moving forward from the past that you have been stuck in for the longest time. Allowing yourself to feel only increases your capacity to deal with adversities that will always be coming your way throughout your life. If we remain stuck in the past, trapped in negativity, it is hard to see doors of opportunity that are opening up along the way.
That is the importance of healing – it allows you to keep evolving, moving forward and see all the doors the come your way.