How to overcome an old hurtful emotional wound
Suppose I ask you to pretend that you are in an elevator. In this elevator, you are the only person inside. There are three floors. On the first floor, the elevator stops. As the door opens, you see a hurtful event from your past. The doors stay open for a minute; you see the problematic event again and feel emotional pain too. You recognize the place and the person that hurt you.
The elevator closes and moves to the next floor. On the second floor, the lever opens again. You can see yourself upset, crying, or maybe angry after dealing with the situation you saw on the first floor. The elevator stays on the floor for one minute and then closes again.
Finally, you come to the third floor. As the elevator opens, you see the person that hurt you coming in. Time has passed, and the person has changed and aged. The person comes inside the elevator and takes the journey down with you.
You are both quiet, and you feel uncomfortable during the journey. In your heart and your stomach, you feel resentment and your emotional wound. Finally, the elevator opens, and without a word, the person leaves the elevator.
At this point, you must be wondering what the end of this exercise is?
I just wanted to illustrate what happens inside you when you keep reliving past emotional wounds. Whenever you remember a problematic event that you felt emotionally wounded, you get in the elevator and relive that painful journey of going through the three floors. All those challenging emotions get stirred up with no positive resolve.
The more you get in the elevator, the more you keep making the wounds deeper. You will continue to activate the stress response in your body and reinforce negativity.
A 2010 research study from the Journal of personality and social psychology found that adverse experiences can promote resilience, but it all depends on how people handle subsequent challenges.
Experiencing a disappointment, betrayal, or abuse in your childhood does not mean you have to live a life sentence of suffering.
Finding ways to cope that promote courage and wisdom from your misfortune can encourage growth in your life. Not only will you be wiser to deal with similar situations in the future, but you will also be able to appreciate more goodness and positive when you experience them.
It would help if you stopped getting on the elevator for your emotional and physical well-being. Overcoming adversity from the past will help you increase your happiness and life satisfaction. Think about it as an incentive to become more resilient.
You can reduce your elevators’ journeys dramatically if you begin resolving your past grudges and differences. Think about one person that you have a grievance with right now. Pick a person that today you wouldn’t want to get in the elevator because it will stir your wounds. Think about a way that you resolve your differences and take action. Is it talking to the person or writing an email or a letter?
If you don’t feel safe or comfortable contacting the person or don’t have, so can you do a forgiveness practice and let go of the past?
Continuing keeping this grudge in your heart accumulates in your heart and becomes a burden. If you are ready to let go of the emotional wound, here are some steps you could take to begin your healing:
Connect with the present moment
Sit in a calm place and notice your body. Look around you and feel the here and now.
Get in the elevator
Bring to mind the problematic event and go through the elevator visualization. Go through the floor and describe what happens on each floor. When you get to the third-floor, pause, and connect with your emotions.
Think about the lessons you have learned from the event, the grudge, and the aftermath. Retell your story to the person as you are riding the elevator down. Tell the person the lesson or lessons that you learned. You can talk about how you would do things differently now.
Say to the person that you have accepted what happened and that you are ready to move on. Finally, say some words of compassion and kindness to the person that you find appropriate as your way of saying goodbye.
“When you can pull yourself out of your own muck, by giving your same old stories happier endings, you’ll find that rage turns to peace, pain to power, fear to courage. Now, that’s something to chew on.”Matha Beck
What old and hurtful story from your life are you going to give a happier ending?