If you’ve been wounded physically, there are certain things that need to happen to ensure the healthy healing of that wound.
We know now that cleanliness in all areas around the wound are crucial to support the body in its brilliant ability to self-heal.
So the person tending you needs to have scrubbed their hands.
Disinfected or squeaky clean wipes are used to take out any foreign matter.
A pristine bandage from antiseptic packaging is used to cover up the wound. All of this to support the body to heal quickly and well.
Sometimes, the dressings have to be changed regularly; other times it’s important to allow the wound space to breathe; and yet other types of wound mean that no peering and investigating of it is required.
IT’S THE SAME WITH A WOUND IN THE HEART.
This is easiest to see with the death of a loved one or a pet; it’s a rare person who would disagree that you have been wounded, and are hurting inside. But it’s not always so easy to see when other losses have occurred too, such as divorce, redundancy, bankruptcy, loss of health, house, or situation.
All these losses leave their mark in the form of an emotional wound. And the same things apply to the safe healing of emotional wounds as to physical ones.
In my many years as a psychotherapist and counsellor, I was often helping people to see that the process of examining the wound, seeing what was needed, cleaning it and then bandaging it so that self-healing could occur in an optimum manner, was the actual process we were going through. It was discovering the hurting inside, and helping it to heal.
Sometimes a scar had formed over old wounds. On occasion this needed to be picked off as the wound wasn’t healing properly. At other times, the wound would have healed in such a way to cause problems in other parts of the (emotional) body.
Occasionally, a piece of sticking plaster had been barely holding the wound together, when in fact a much bigger and more supportive bandaging was required.
People presented with all sorts of different symptoms that would alert me to a wound. And it’s the same with the effects of loss – the symptoms can show up in all kinds of ways, particularly if the healing process has not been enabled to do its job fully.
You may already know that if you’ve suffered a loss, recent or many years ago, and are hurting inside, it may show up in your life in any of the following ways (and this is not a definitive list):
- Inability to open your heart to others in intimate relationship
- Fear of your own death
- Fear of another’s death
- Obsessive behaviour of any kind
- Chronic health conditions
- Anxiety, panic, depression
- Over-controlling behaviour
- Out of control anger and temper
So if you know that you’ve been subject to loss, and can identify yourself in that list, then really have a think about this ‘wound and bandage’ analogy.
Do you really want to go through the rest of your life not having properly healed?
Do you really want to stay with these behaviours that appear to keep you safe, but also keep you limited and even, perhaps, stifled?
Do you really want to arrive at your death saying ‘I wish I had ….’?
If the answers are ‘Actually I want to heal and move on more healthily’ or a variation on that, then bear in mind that cleaning the wound properly is tantamount to finding the gift in your loss.
Part of my own healing was writing the story of my husband’s diagnosis, his subsequent death, and the pretty amazing things that happened after that. Buy the book here.
But even if you don’t read the book, I’d love that you find a way to tenderly clean, and re-bandage your own wound, if this article resonates with you. How could you do that today?