How to Stay Strong When Things Go Wrong

How to Stay Strong When Things Go Wrong

Do you wish you could stay strong when setbacks hit and things go wrong? If so, you’re not alone! Setbacks and disappointments are a part of life, but learning how to effectively deal with them, can help to strengthen us from within.

When faced with setbacks, disappointments and stagnation, the first thing to do is not to fight back harder, but to step back and regain perspective before proceeding. This may feel counterproductive at first, but it is vitally important.

When we get so focused that we see things as black and white, good or bad, we can get boxed into rigidity. Truth is, life consist of an entire spectrum of possibilities, rather than just two choices. Stepping back and refocusing opens our minds to more ways of seeing and acting in life.

It does not always require a major shift; even a small tweak can make a difference. Just step back and shift your perspective enough to include one more way of looking at that situation. Is it really true that you are the only actor responsible for creating a desired outcome? It may be more accurate to say you represent one of many conditions that need to come together for something to unfold.

Even when we put our best into something, the outcome might not be what we expected. There may be very strong messages from inside and around us telling us that the outcome is the most important thing, yet that is a limited perspective. The outcome is less important than cultivating our capacity to be with whatever is, even when it is not at all what we have wished for.

This means learning to be okay with not knowing, with not being able to control the outcome. We continue to practice and train our ability to at peace within, and we don’t take the outcome personally.

This is at the heart of authentic spiritual work: it includes both being and doing; awareness as well as the discipline of application. What keeps us pliable in this often challenging process, is the attitude of gratitude.

Gratitude is not dependent on external circumstances. We don’t feel gratitude just because everything is going great, although that’s important to acknowledge. We especially need to practice gratitude when things are not going the way we want them to. It’s when things go wrong, that we are faced with deeper attachments and desires that often masquerade as needs.

To stay flexible, we need to practice gratitude anyhow; similar to the concept of “hallelujah anyhow” that is often heard in black churches; giving thanks and finding gratitude not because of our circumstances, but despite them.

The challenge is to stay in a receptive, open place, not fighting against what’s happening, but digging deeper within to live from our core values, to be the difference we wish to see in the world, and to lead by example in making a difference despite the setbacks we may face. It requires us to dig deep and keep showing up, doing our best with the resources and gifts that we ourselves have been given to make this world a better place.

And when our best is not sufficient to change things around yet, we entrust the outcomes to a Higher hand and we stay the course with compassion for ourselves and others. Once conditions are appropriate, the outcomes will be sure. In the meantime, the work remains because living from our true core and purpose is the only meaningful way to live. Even when conditions are not yet appropriate for optimal outcomes to show up, we can say “hallelujah” anyhow, and stay the course.

Setbacks and delays are part of life’s reality, and they are fully workable. Our practice is to not pull away from the dissonance, not to withdraw from what we are faced with; and in that place where commitment and discipline meet the obstacles, our souls learn resilience and strength.

This is true especially when you feel outnumbered and alone. Don’t get locked into the duality of blame and shame! You cannot be successful by feeding what you are fighting, so when you reach this point, step back and regroup!

Do something good instead. Recognize that we need the shadow to show us the light, and navigate by forgiving the limitations of the shadow and finding a way to shine the light.

One of the biggest pitfalls in our society is the way in which personal preferences are mislabeled as needs. People often attempt to manipulate others by presenting their emotional preferences as needs, and then demanding these “needs” be met. Listen to individuals for a day and you’ll notice how often this is used to manipulate: “I need you to be quiet now,” “I need you to listen to me,” “I need you to do this right now,” and the list goes on.

In reality, these statements confuse emotional preferences with needs. They are indicative of misappropriate use of the limbic brain, where needs and preferences are often confused in early childhood. Adults who get stuck in this dysfunctional behavior, create a lot of chaos for themselves and others.

An emotional “need” is not the same as the biological need for oxygen, food and shelter; it is simply a preference. In fact, psychologist Steven Stosny identifies only one valid emotional need for adults, and that is to act consistently on deeper values.

When we consistently act from our deeper values, all the emotional preferences that parade as important needs, will either be satisfied as a byproduct of meaningful living, or they will drop away as unimportant in the bigger lens of living a purposeful life.

The best way to attain the life you want to have, is to approach it from the perspective of living it in alignment with your deeper values and meaning, not from emotional preferences masquerading as “needs.”

When you do that, you will find your roots digging deeper so you can stay strong when things go wrong.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Recover From Setbacks In Ten Proven Steps

How To Recover From Setbacks In Ten Proven Steps

Disasters and upheaval happen in every life. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to recover from setbacks faster?

You may have been spared the trauma of earthquakes, random violence or war… only to face work layoffs, escalating debt, or a devastating medical diagnosis. Perhaps you feel stuck working at a job you hate but can’t leave because of current market conditions, or you don’t know how to change a seriously dysfunctional relationship.

When setbacks hit, it is common to feel overwhelmed, helpless and scared. In fact, others may tell you that you are overreacting; things are not all that bad.

If that is true, why do you feel so bad? The current setback in your life may have triggered an avalanche of past trauma memories or flashbacks, evoking deep emotional trauma for you.

Your ability to bounce back from setbacks depends on many factors, including your natural resilience or ability to cope with stress, the severity of the trauma, and what types of support you have access to.

When setbacks leave you feeling disempowered and vulnerable, it may be tempting to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. These substances may temporarily soothe you, but they make things worse in the long run. Substance abuse worsens many symptoms of trauma. It also leads to emotional numbing, social isolation, anger and depression. Ultimately, such forms of self-medication interfere with treatment and can add to problems at home and in relationships.

As news of disturbing events continue to unfold worldwide, it is more important than ever to sharpen your coping skills at physical, emotional and spiritual levels. It is up to you to put together your own disaster-preparation kit, so that you can be resilient in navigating the winds of change! Here are some positive coping strategies to help you get through times of stress and upheaval:

1. Recognize that you may be grieving. Grief is a natural part of the life cycle that follows loss. You may find yourself cycling back and forth through the five major stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Cycling through the stages of grief is normal – you are not losing your grip on reality. Allow yourself to grieve for the parts of life that you have lost, and take comfort in knowing that this process will come to completion in due time.

2. Honor your losses. Loss can show up in many ways. You may have lost your job, a relationship, a loved one, friends, pets, your home, possessions, your dreams, health, or your quality of life. Try writing about your loss or create a ritual to express your sense of loss. Rather than expecting to just “get over it” and move on with your life, take time to honor and affirm your losses – it is a valuable part of the healing process.

3. Talk to someone for support. During setbacks, it is important not to isolate yourself. Instead, make an effort to be with supportive people that you have carefully identified as safe. Face the challenges in your life and identify the most important problems. Then get help from safe friends, family members or professionals to help you address these so you can move past them.

4. Find your new normal. When life as you knew it ends, you may feel as if your entire infrastructure has collapsed, and previous guidelines lose meaning. You may find your emotions swinging from one extreme to another, temporarily losing your sense of what’s normal. When your personal world falls apart, it is important to remember that you are not alone, weak, or crazy. It helps to know your problems are shared by many others who have experienced – and survived – similar setbacks.

5. Break things into manageable chunks. When feeling too scattered to focus, recognize that your mind is trying to cope with your situation the best it can. Instead of berating yourself, take positive steps to regroup. Slow down. Give yourself time to focus on what you need to learn or do. Write things down and make “To Do” lists. Break tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks. Set just one realistic goal or task for each day. And get help if you need it.

6. Take time out when angry. The stress that accompanies major setbacks can create irritability and anger. This can affect your self-control, health and relationships. Anger can increase your heart rate so much that you cannot think clearly. Remember that staying angry doesn’t work. It actually increases stress and can cause health problems. Burn your anger off in the gym or get professional help to learn how to manage it more effectively.

7. Reconnect to positive emotions. After a major setback, many people have trouble feeling or expressing positive emotions. They may even feel guilty for surviving. This is a common reaction to trauma. It is not helpful to feel guilty for something you did not want to happen and cannot control. Instead, shift your focus to gratitude for surviving and resolve to make your life count!

8. Exercise positive thinking. Monitor your thoughts. If they cause you to feel stuck or helpless, switch to more helpful thoughts. For example, if you find yourself thinking, “I can’t do it,” challenge yourself with questions such as: “Is it really true that I can’t do it?” “Is it always true?” “Under what circumstances could I do it?” “What could help me do it?” Then select a more helpful train of thought that builds confidence. In this case, you might say to yourself, “With the right help, I can get through this.”

9. Take time to relax. Consciously choose to focus on something positive to help you relax. Some helpful activities include mental calming with progressive relaxation, mindfulness meditation, or conscious breathing; physical exercise such as swimming, walking or yoga; spiritual activities such as prayer, chanting or singing; and other healing activities such as listening to quiet music, spending time with pets or being in nature.

10. Reach out to help others. Helping others in need or volunteering in your community can be powerful ways for you to heal. It relieves stress by taking your mind off your own problems for awhile, and helps you see them in a different light. Providing support for others can also make you feel more connected and empowered.

Together, these guidelines can help you bounce back from life’s setbacks stronger and wiser!

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Apply The Four Noble Truths For A Better Life

How To Apply The Four Noble Truths For A Better Life

What are the Four Noble Truths? In short, they represent the Buddha’s fundamental teaching that liberates humans from suffering. These four truths can be summarized as follows:

  1. Life Inherently Contains Suffering And Struggle

Life involves struggle, frustration and suffering in both obvious and subtle forms. Even when things appear peaceful externally, we do not experience permanent satisfaction in anything but may feel an undercurrent of internal anxiety and uncertainty. This is the inherent problem of existence.

  1. Craving Is The Cause Of Suffering

The cause of suffering is craving that stems from ignorance. We suffer because we tend to blame our difficulties on things outside ourselves. We resist the truth that life is impermanent and change is constant – instead, we grow frustrated when the world doesn’t behave the way we think it should and life doesn’t conform to our expectations. We try to push away some things while grasping for others. This process of attachment and resistance stems from our desire for life to be different than it is and causes suffering.

  1. Suffering Stops When Craving Ends

Since we are ultimately the ones that cause our own suffering by perpetuating the cycle of craving and resistance, we also have the power to end our suffering. Even when life is unpredictable and impermanent, we can change the way we respond to it. By awakening to the true nature of our timeless souls, we can end the chase after external satisfaction and permanence, and so end the suffering. In the awakened mind, it is not the suffering that ceases, but the craving.

  1. There’s A Path Out Of Suffering

By embracing the path of right living, we can awaken to our Higher nature. This path involves ethical living, developing wisdom and discernment, and adhering to a personal practice that supports our emerging consciousness. This personal journey of awakening frees us from suffering and ultimately leads to enlightenment.

Most of us struggle with the practical application of these Four Noble Truths. Our human tendency is to avoid all pain and suffering, which only perpetuates our struggle.

Instead, I suggest that we look at the Four Noble Truths as recommendations for right living; guidelines to help us navigate life’s challenges more effectively. By presenting the Four Noble Truths as practical guidelines for living, they become powerful tools to guide our responses to life.

I propose using the acronym AREA to remember the structure of the Four Noble Truths in practical ways: Accept Life As Is, Release Reactivity, End Grasping, and Act Appropriately.

When we respond to these Four Noble Truths in appropriate ways, they will indeed expand our inner area of spaciousness and peace, and ultimately expand the area or scope of our True nature.

  1. Accept Life As Is

When we allow conscious awareness to infuse everything we do, we become more tolerant. We no longer interpret everything that does not go our way as a personalized attack on our ego selves; instead, we recognize it for simply being a part of life. When we experience a setback, we can see it as an opportunity for learning and growth; not as something unfair to be judged or avoided.

The Course in Miracles teaches that it is the meaning or interpretation we give to things, that makes them appear as good or bad; in truth, it simply is a part of life. Embracing the very impermanence of life can foster in us a deeper appreciation for the fleeting and precious nature of each moment.

  1. Release Reactivity

Human neurobiology makes it virtually impossible for us to constantly maintain a state of inner equilibrium without spiritual awareness. Our senses are continuously providing feedback through physical symptoms, emotions, thoughts and feelings. Equilibrium requires us to be with reactivity in a different way: learning how to respond instead of to react. We stop the cycle of reactivity by understanding that sensory feedback loops are valuable messages to respond to; not interference to react to, judge, resist or avoid.

When we experience physical symptoms or pain, our innate reactivity may prompt us to either resist the symptoms with medication or to grasp for some miracle cure outside of ourselves. Instead, perhaps it would be more meaningful to first dialogue with the symptoms for a deepened understanding of what they’re trying to tell us; and once we understand the deeper message, we’ll be able to respond appropriately so the messenger can be released. This process of responding instead of reacting allows us to create more inner space for growth in consciousness.

  1. End Grasping

It is essential to learn how to respond to life’s difficulties with an open mind, free from the conditioned behaviors of judgment, fear or craving. This inner attitude of non-attachment frees us from the endless cycles of attachment and aversion to offer us genuine freedom and inner peace instead. The Sedona Method puts it this way: “Embrace that which you resist, and surrender that to which you cling.”

Relinquishing our positionalities rewards us with freedom from craving. Positionalities are in truth nothing other than learned behaviors and limiting beliefs, so relinquishing them truly opens up space for us to thrive.

  1. Act Appropriately

In shamanic traditions, appropriate action is referred to as “right living.” Appropriate action requires conscious awareness of our inner motives, beliefs and reactions. It nurtures the development of the observer/witness, or our Soul self. It is in aligning with this Higher aspect of being, that we are transformed to live from our full potential.

The more we fine-tune our responses to life appropriately reflect our Higher nature, the more inner freedom, peace and joy we experience. This is the core of all personal growth. Creating a path of appropriate action nourishes us at all levels and honors our true purpose in life – the embodiment of our Higher nature.

Using AREA can serve as a practical reminder to keep us aligned with the Four Noble Truths. The result is more inner peace, harmony and joy.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Challenges and Gifts of Change

During times of change, we often experience an instinctive desire to control or direct the process. If we could only control the process, we would feel more comfortable with it – or so we think!

And so, we try to retain a sense of control by attempting to manage the pace, direction and volume of change in our lives. We attempt to shift the unfolding realities of life from one outcome to another to feel more secure. Sadly, these attempts keep us looking at external outcomes for happiness or security, rather than looking within.

Our attempt to control life keeps us identified with the content of the process instead of the context. In so doing, we miss life’s true blessing: the perfection of each moment as it unfolds. There is a more effective way to navigate through change!

Identify With The Contextual Field

One powerful solution for inner peace lies in learning to identify with the contextual field, and not the shifting content, of life. We can choose to focus on the larger picture or context of life, and allow the shifting details of life’s content to flow past us without attachment or aversion. As each wave of probabilities show up, we are free to select which aspects to focus on and which ones to ignore.

When faced with a job change, for instance, you can focus on attracting a new opportunity that would bring you into more alignment with your core values. This choice aligns you with the context of the Field, not the myriad tiny details. Then, allow this contextual focus to bring you specific opportunities to choose from. By identifying with the Field, you can trust the law of resonance to bring you opportunities that are aligned with your intentional focus, and you do not need to micro manage the process.

Really Letting Go

Change can take many forms as we grow into new ways of being, leaving the old behind. We may need to leave behind relationships, jobs, friends, homes or other vestiges of the old that no longer serve us. To really, really let go of the old, there is a certain amount of grief that needs to be acknowledged.

By facing the feelings of loss and grief, we are freed from the ties to circumstances and people we have outgrown, and we are free to move on. It is very important to acknowledge these emotions, for it is in their expression that we find freedom and healing. Emotions that are suppressed never go away – they simply resurface further down to road for us to deal with!

Flying Blind

In shamanic cultures, the bat represents powerful medicine. Bats do not have sight, yet dart about with incredible accuracy and speed because they trust their inner radar. In the chaos of sudden change, it may feel as if you’re flying blind, too. However, this is an opportunity to connect with and trust your inner radar.  When you connect to your inner guidance, flight through the unknown takes you to higher ground.

 

Flying blind also challenges our preconceived concepts of life. Fear may prompt us to resist change, yet faith calls us to surrender to the process, trusting the Divine guidance within. As soon as we let go, the current of change can carry us to new perspectives with grace and ease.

Turbulence and Cross Currents

From an energy perspective, any choice or action can be observed as a wave form that ripples outward in all directions. In quantum physics, this phenomenon is known as the Lorenzo Effect. Energies we’d set in motion through previous choices may continue to ripple out and back like waves for a while afterwards. As we make new choices, the old and new wave forms can clash, resulting in turbulence known as standing waves, cross currents and even collapsed waves. We may experience the turbulence as mental fog, confusion or overwhelm.

Don’t let this temporary turbulence throw you off course. It’s part of the process of shifting directions! If you can stay focused during change, the temporary turbulence will give way to a new current of greater clarity, ease and understanding.

Remember Why

Overwhelm and confusion only arise when taking our eyes off the goal. When feeling overwhelmed by the process of change, simply bring your focus back to the reasons why you chose change in the first place.

The very nature of change embodies a sense of upheaval. Clashing beliefs, crashing hopes and the looming unknown may bring into question many values you’d blindly accepted before. This is your great opportunity to choose differently. It is a call to revisit your values and to bring your life into higher alignment with your soul’s purpose.

Fine-Tune Your Compass

Each one of us creates our own reality, moment by moment. When we set our intention unwaveringly on reaching our highest potential in life, we become unstoppable. Our very being starts emanating the frequency of what we hold in mind, thereby drawing resonant outcomes to us every moment through our continuous intention.

Is change rocking your world? This is a very appropriate time to ask yourself whether you are living the life you really want. Are you doing what your heart desires, or are you compromising for the security of a job, social status or acceptance? Are you joyful?  Is dissatisfaction nibbling at your bones, causing you to blame others for your circumstances?

Remember, your experience is your choice!

To change your life, you need to change your mind about things first. If life doesn’t serve you well, you can change it! It’s as simple as that.

The more consciously you participate in creating your reality, the more you’ll resonate with the outcomes that follow. Every thought, emotion, fear, desire and choice influences what you attract in life.

If your life doesn’t reflect what you had intended, it is not too late for change. More than 90% of the motivators that drive or sabotage us, are in the subconscious. By clearing out limiting emotions and beliefs from the subconscious, you can pave the way to reach your highest expression of being. This process of fine-tuning and growth is the ultimate gift of change!

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Navigate Life’s Crossroads Without Fear

In today’s world, change confronts us with major, life-defining crossroads more frequently than ever. For one person it may mean leaving a job that no longer works. For others, that life-defining moment is on a personal level: finding the courage to break free from addiction, leave a relationship or reclaim their health.

Facing life-defining crossroads as the captain of your own life can feel scary or intimating, but it need to be so. Crossroads represent more than disruption of the status quo: they are opportunities for our choices to determine long-term outcomes. The way we navigate them are critical: we can choose a path from a place of fear and survival, or we can choose from a place of faith and trust.

Whenever you encounter crossroads in your life, something deeper in you is being called forth and, once you answer that call, you know that life will never be the same. You can step to become a co-creator with the Divine, choosing a path that ultimately enriches your life.

When you first encounter a life-defining crossroads, you may be unsure about how to proceed. Inspired guidance has not yet come forth and you may feel as if you are lost between the past and the future. This stage offers you the opportunity to embrace the unknown rather than feeling afraid or stuck. How can you do this without going into fear?

It is helpful to remember that the experience of nothingness – the void of the unknown – is really the experience of pure potential. The place of non-material nothingness embodies pure, undifferentiated potential for a new reality to emerge in response to your intention, focus and faith. Instead of emptiness, this space contains the fullness of all possibilities. It offers you the opportunity create a new level of being for your soul to experience.

Facing the unfamiliar and unknown is actually a gift: it offers you a profound opportunity for conscious creation! Recognize that you are not at the whim of outside circumstances and random events here. This is an opportunity for you to attract optimal outcomes by using the timeless tools of co-creation: intention, alignment, trust and gratitude.

You can consciously guide and create events through your focused intention, which forms the core of any creative process. When you set your intention clearly and specifically, you signal to the energies out there to create a reality that resonates with what you hold in mind.

Next, you need to take responsibility for your feelings so that you are in emotional alignment with your intention, banishing any sense of fear, worry or doubt. Wherever your focus goes, energy flows. It is therefore essential to recognize any thoughts, feelings and emotions of fear, and to release these with compassion so your mind can be at peace – the true resting place of faith.

Finally, you have to let go of trying to control outcomes. Instead, present your desire or need to the Divine and then detach from it. Simply let go of all attachments and aversions related to the situation: both your attachment to the desired outcome and your fears of the alternative. Trust the Life Force to respond to your situation at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.

Then, allow gratitude to fill your being: give thanks for Divine guidance, provision and support to flow into you with each breath you take. Let the Divine Presence which sustains your very being, surround and fill you with a deep sense of gratitude. This attitude of gratitude expands your perspective to recognize guidance, synchronicities and confirmation on your journey.

When you operate from this place of gratitude and trust, you will take inspired action rather than pushing to make things happen from a place of fear or control. You are indeed part of a dynamic feedback loop with Divinity; a co-creative relationship where you are holding space for answers to emerge through your intention, alignment, trust and gratitude.

Once you grasp the enormous potential inherent in this process, you will approach life’s crossroads as an opportunity to create optimal outcomes from the raw materials of faith. Co-creating with Divine inspiration, your mind can begin to grasp what it means to have all of time and space at your disposal.

Here are a few principles to keep in mind as you learn to become fearless in the field of all possibilities:

  1. Remain detached from both expectations and fears. Recognize that attachment breeds expectation and fear. Instead, focus on the Eternal Source of your supply and keep your focus on that Divine Source rather than on circumstances.
  2. Keep your perspective on the present moment. When we focus on the future, we feed fear and anxiety; when we focus on the past, we feed guilt, blame and regret. In the present moment, there is always enough grace to meet your need, no matter how overwhelming the circumstances. By staying focused on the present, you stay open to all the possibilities.
  3. Adapt quickly to mistakes. Rather than turning a setback into some judgment about yourself, the situation or somebody else, simply acknowledge your feelings of disappointment and take note of what you have learned from it. Then renew the process of detachment, surrender and trust so you can return to your ultimate resting place of peace.
  4. Be alert to tiny signals – major turning points of life often arrive as small signals at first. Learn to see and interpret the metaphors through which life speaks to you.
  5. Cultivate a healthy, balanced connection between your soul and body. You will be most effective at decision-making when you remain aware of your spiritual core guiding you through the physical challenges of life, rather than trying to disassociate from either aspect.
  6. Stay flexible in your understanding and embrace ambiguity. Transformation is sometimes a messy process. Flexibility makes it easier to release unrealistic expectations when they prove untenable.
  7. Be patient. You are a spiritual being that exists in eternity; don’t let human expectations and timelines rob you of peace. Surrender every fear, doubt, anxiety or worry as it surfaces, so you can hold a space of clear intention and trust the perfect unfolding of Divine order.
  8. Take excellent care of yourself. Nurture yourself with healthy food, exercise and rest so you can have the physical resilience and stamina to realize optimal outcomes.
  9. Allow your core values to guide your decisions. When your choices, actions and behaviors are aligned with your values, you won’t need to second-guess yourself.
  10. Honor healthy boundaries. Learn that “no” can be a complete sentence. It’s a healthy and necessary way to address external demands at a time when you need time and space to figure out major life decisions.
  11. Be discerning about the company you keep. During times of change, it is important to receive validation from people whose view of reality matches your own. Such encouragement supports your process of learning to trust your own inner guidance, whereas negative people deplete your energy.
  12. Take time for meditation or contemplation. This practice will help you stay centered and at peace. It is also a powerful way to re-connect to Divine inspiration and fuel for your soul.

Together, these principles can help you fearlessly face the unknown and embrace new possibilities. The cross-roads of your life can become a life-changing opportunity!

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

The Four Phases of Emotional Healing

Emotional healing is an organized process which goes through four distinct, orderly phases similar to physical wound healing where missing cellular structures and layers of tissue are replaced.

The four, often overlapping, phases of physical and emotional wound healing are Shock/Hemostasis, Inflammation, Proliferation/Rebuilding and Remodeling. There are tools that work best for each phase, as well as gifts to be gleaned from each phase of the process.

  1. Shock/Hemostasis

In the hemostasis phase of physical wound healing the flow of blood stops and vessels constrict and seal themselves off, forming a clot to stop bleeding. Emotional wounds elicit a similar response from us: we may go into shock or denial of what has happened; or shut down because of the trauma. Healthy responses during the initial phase of emotional healing include:

        Face and acknowledge the pain. Recognize the impact the event had on you so you can deal with it and heal. Be sure to not avoid the issue or suppress it, because emotional healing requires brutal self-honesty.

        Grieve for your loss. You may have lost someone, or your trust was betrayed. You may feel falsely judged or accused, or even abandoned. By grieving that loss, you are creating space for emotional healing to follow.

  1. Inflammation

Just as the second phase of physical would healing is marked by inflammation, the second phase of emotional healing is marked by a period of inflamed emotion. You may experience waves of anger, sadness, rage, blame, shame or indignation as you review the hurtful event. During this time, you may have a strong need to express your feelings and emotions to sympathetic others. You may look for validation of your feelings. Heck, you may even want to lash out in revenge!

This is a critical phase for emotional healing: too much inflamed emotion and rehashing of the situation can hold you back from the healing process; too little emotional response can indicate prolonged denial and confine you to the victim role.

        Accountability: Take time to review the event from a non-judgmental perspective.  What went wrong and why? Were there any red flags you ignored? How did you contribute to the outcome? What could you have done differently? What did you learn from the experience?

        Forgiveness: Forgiving is not surrendering to the wrongdoing of another; it is a letting go of the bitterness you feel toward them. Anger and bitterness poison you and need to be released so you can fully heal. Perhaps you need to forgive yourself for things you did or said. If so, recognize that you can only do the best with what you know at any given time, and forgive yourself for not having known or done better. The choice to forgive is always difficult, but only this decision will bring genuine emotional healing.

  1. Rebuilding

In this important phase of physical healing also known as proliferation, the wound gets rebuilt with healthy tissue. Likewise, this is the phase in emotional healing where you get to choose new, healthy responses and coping mechanisms to the challenges life may send your way.

It is an exciting time of exploring new resources, finding new tools and integrating them into behaviors and strategies that can propel your emotional resilience to a new level. During this phase, choosing healthy responses to challenges will build elasticity into your life; fear-based or angry responses will delay your progress.

        Responsibility: Accept responsibility for your life, and recognize that your life is ultimately the only life you are responsible for. Know that nothing another says or does to you, can change in any way the truth of your inner being as you know yourself to be. Recognize that winners stand back up when they get knocked down; losers don’t… and choose which you want to be.

        Dare to dream again: Who would you be without this emotional setback?  What would you do? Then start taking steps toward these goals to move you out of the stagnation of woundedness, propelling you towards emotional healing and a vibrant life.

  1. Remodeling 

In this final phase, physical wounds are closing and may appear healed on the surface, although it will take some time for tissue at all levels to become strong and less sensitive.

In emotional healing, this phase can be challenging because people may see you as fine, not realizing that you still feel very sensitive or tentative. This is the phase where you get to put your new goals, strategies and boundaries into action. It is important to remain vigilant and avoid falling into the same pitfalls as before. Protect your emotional boundaries until you feel stronger and more resilient.

It is up to you to train people where your new emotional boundaries are, and how to treat you. Each time you respond to a challenge in a different, more empowering way, you will find yourself strengthened by the experience. Know that your new boundaries will be tested and you have the authority to enhance your coping strategies, reinforcing your emotional boundaries for long-term thriving.

        Maturation: By progressing though each of the three previous phases and integrating the wisdom of the experience into your life, you reach a new level of emotional resilience and maturity. By appropriately tending to your emotional wounds, you will renew yourself to live an empowered life.

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