The question is, how can we shed ourselves of the negative memories and unhealthy loops that we allow to play repeatedly in our minds? Many of us have been a victim of one thing or another. Does this have to defeat goodness and happiness from coming into play? If honest, many people would probably answer, “I feel guilt and shame to enjoy life again.” They may go as far to think, “Do I deserve to live happily?” I want to try and turn your thinking inside out. Let us distinguish how to release darkness from our minds, and to appropriately heal from the experiences that have devastated us. If we have been bodily harmed, did we receive the appropriate care, and have the opportunity to physically heal? Is it time for mental healing? Our body knows pain.
There is a great book, The Body Keeps Score, by Bessel Van der Kolk, MD. The idea is to deliberately shift our mind to a humble place and to be able to let go and start again. With this thought, it is impossible to assume blame of others that have not hurt us. It is a time when we can erase the slate and live again without prejudice. This is no simple task. However, you can gain many years of life with less hurt and stress on your body and mind.
Increasing self-esteem is extremely helpful during this process. Do you go the extra mile to surround yourself with good people to build yourself up? Do you think about your smallest accomplishments and reward yourself? Do you allow yourself time to forgive others and yourself? This can become routine — and you can start instilling small amounts of goodness each day. Without apology, show your emotions and let them flow as a river. When sadness comes, visualize the beautiful ocean in all its power and glory. You are strong and built to restore your hurts and shortcomings.
That is why we always have “Tomorrow.”
Christine Cantilena Barnes
A licensed clinical mental health counselor, Christine has been a part of Atlanta’s professional community for over 25 years.