It can take a long time for some emotional wounds to form. It can also be surprisingly hard to know for sure when a wound is healing, especially at the beginning.
Let’s think for a moment how these many wounds happen. Frequently they’re cumulative. A number of similar experiences or habits repeating over and over. Chronic criticism over many years can evolve into you then continuing now to remind yourself your needs don’t matter or admitting defeat after you’ve just barely started something bold and new, to name just a few.
Think about it physically, one action, word or thought, like one quick swipe of sandpaper across your skin, it wouldn’t feel good, but it also probably wouldn’t do much damage. If you keep rubbing the same place with the sandpaper over and over, after a while, the wound will be very big and painful. So, I think you’d agree that step one would be “ditch the sandpaper”. Good idea, but the wound still looks awful. Some people might think “the sandpaper wasn’t the problem, look at this terrible wound!” True, but you only stopped rubbing a minuet ago. What might happen to the wound after a day, a week, a month with no new wounding? It could be profoundly better (especially with a little TLC thrown in like keeping it clean and a nice, soft bandage).
I can be touch to ditch the sandpaper. We might now know it IS sandpaper and/or it might feel so familiar that it’s strangely hard to stop rubbing. Maybe it’s always using the word “should” instead of “could”. Maybe it’s looking at the world with a critical eye, seeing what’s wrong rather than what’s right, or a hundred other possibilities that leave us with wounds of discouragement, fear or defeat. It’s a leap of faith to allow time for healing to show – to give it time to prove it was the sandpaper after all and that healing can happen.
Someone I knew a long time ago always used to say, “It’s a great life as long as you don’t weaken!” He had big wounds of disappointment and discouragement with life that never seemed to diminish. There had been a lot of sandpaper moments in his childhood, but he kept the sandpaper and kept using it on himself long after he could have thrown it away and let his woulds heal. Far longer than it needed to be, life continued to feel like a battle to him.
What’s your sandpaper? Be on lookout for it. A common thought. A frequent phrase you use. It’s entirely possible that it’s unconscious, swiping away at a wound that’s never had the chance to heal. Find it the sandpaper, let go of it, add a little TLC (mindfulness, loving kindness meditation, tapping, etc.) and trust the healing will happen as you return to your true, unwounded self.
This meditation may help (remember that “home” is your own deepest true self).