When you fall and skin your knee, your first response may be to freeze in pain, gape at the open wound, then immediately work to clean, bandage, and take care of it. But when you suffer an emotional injury, the response is less immediate or not present at all. Why is that?
Our brain is adept at responding to external danger—its internal mechanisms work overtime to keep us physically safe and healthy. But emotional injuries are not recognized the same way. Time and time again, we fail to see the importance of caring for emotional wounds, thinking they are insignificant, or too uncomfortable to receive help with. But treating emotional wounds is often more important than minor physical ones.
Emotional wounds can get infected, too. From lack of care or attention, they end up being more difficult to manage than if they were properly dealt with in the first place. In this post, we’ll provide some tips and strategies for emotional wound care.
Step 1: First Aid
Emotional first aid requires seeking safe emotional spaces and relationships, and removing yourself from harmful ones. This does not necessary mean avoiding challenging experiences because they feel uncomfortable. But when you’ve experienced an emotional wound, removal from the situation or relationship is the best option.
Step 2: Recognition
After removing yourself from emotionally unsafe situations and relationships, first work on recognizing and feeling compassion for the emotional trauma you faced. Recognition and self-compassion is the first step in healing—emotional suppression can never lead to lasting emotional health.
Step 3: The Healing Process
Depending on how deep or serious they are, physical wounds can require ointments, salves, stitches, medication, and dressings to heal most effectively and efficiently. Emotional self-care techniques, such as deep, conscious breathing, meditation, and mindfulness, can be akin to these treatments.
When working on emotional healing, you’ll find out quickly that it’s impossible to think yourself out of your own thoughts. This is where self-care therapies that allow you to quiet the mind and harness your inner guide come into play.
And, don’t be afraid to share your pain with those who care about you and you feel safe with. The healing power of human connection is often necessary to heal deep-seated wounds.
Step 4: The Scar Tissue
Life’s challenges, including emotional wounds, always have the power of promoting growth, however damaging or destructive they have been to you. Working through and healing from emotional wounds develops emotional intelligence—the ability to find lasting peace through new habits, boundaries, and relationships that promote well-being. This is the cherished fruit only received at the lowest lows, and the toughest climbs.
We hope we’ve inspired you to tend to and care for any emotional wounds you may have, however challenging they may be.