In our lives we will experience all kinds of pain whether physical, emotional, internal or external; but it should be clear to all us that at some point in our lives we will feel the effects of pain. The question to ask ourselves than is, how do we deal with this pain? How do we dig ourselves out of a pit of pain, despair and defeat? There is no simple answer for this question, and we must understand that what works for one person may not work for another.
First let us ponder on those things that can cause us pain such as: childhood abuse, childhood trauma, physical abuse, rejection, sexual abuse, rape, being teased or bullied, divorce, death, and the list goes on and on. There are so many things in our lives that leave us with the feelings of pain, hopelessness, helplessness and feeling unsafe. When we feel unsafe then we feel that we’re in danger, and we immediately lift our guards. Sometimes these guards can be physical, emotional, spiritual and mental.
When we have our guards up we make it difficult for us to be loved by ourselves and others. When your guard is up there is a brick wall that tells others to stay out. In order to break down this wall, you must first acknowledge that you are struggling with feeling safe. Safety is self-knowledge, acceptance, understanding, and self-responsibility. Real safety is developed by knowing yourself and then applying what you know to accept what has happened to you in the past. In order to heal, you must first acknowledge what has happened to you, and be willing to begin the process of healing. Healing cannot take place without acknowledgement.
Secondly, in order to find safety from your pain, you must identify what safety means to you. Safety can mean many things to different people. To some safety can mean running away during times of difficulty, and for others it can mean having a great support system; but it can also mean finding ways to avoid danger; such as shutting others out of your life. In order to develop better coping skills for dealing with issues of safety, you must be aware as to how you deal with your feelings of being afraid. If you are a runner then you have to learn to handle situations without have a “flight mentality.” If you have put up an emotional wall, you have to learn how to address each brick until they are all dismantled. Being aware of your behaviors is important to healing.
Thirdly, and the last one for the point of this blog is developing coping strategies. Coping strategies are just simple ways that you can learn to redirect and refrain your actions or thoughts. There are may forms of coping skills; whether it’s using reframing to change your thoughts, using journaling to document your behavior so you can be mindful as to how you respond during times of fear, or creating a plan of action during your next situation with fear so you can respond differently.
Change must first begin with you and end with you. You have to be the change that you need in your life. In order to see any progress in those areas of your life that you wish to change, then you must be intentional and motivated in your desire to have a more productive and meaningful life. Remember that you cannot have a productive life when you are continuing to struggle from past wounds, trauma and rejection. Learn to live a life full of hope, promise and expectation.
Rachquel Jackson, MSW M Div
The Healing Coach