15 Steps To Healing Yourself Before A Serious Relationship
If you are looking for love in a healthy relationship, sometimes you have to deal with the underlying issues from the past — like a fear of abandonment or engulfment, which leads to ambivalence about relationships. To do this consider the following steps.
1. Admit that you have underlying issues. Nothing can change until we acknowledge that we have a problem.
2. Identify the underlying issues: If you do not remember your childhood you can look at photographs, talk to siblings, friends or our parents who knew you when you were a child. Meditate or analyze your dreams. The truth will come out if you want it to.
3. Examples of underlying issues:
o chronic insecurity
o chronic anxiety
o feelings of alienation
o a profound hunger for love
o an exaggerated fear of abandonment and rejection
o feelings of deprivation
o feelings of emptiness
o confusion or fear when love is available
o anxiety when things are going well
o some kind of addiction
4. Talk about what you remember. Don’t stop talking until you have emptied out your pain.
5. Write in your journal about what you are discovering. As you write, marvelous things that you have forgotten will spill out onto the page. This can be a personal journal or you can share it with our coaches.
6. Feel all of your emotions as they come up without drinking or using other unhealthy mood-altering experiences. Do not let shame stop you from feeling the emotions. There is no emotion that should be ashamed of. Even if you did something you regret.
7. Grieve what you went through. If you can’t do this directly, imagine that your inner child was hurt, and do for him/her what you cannot do for yourself. Grieving is similar to the suggestion above. You feel the loss of your childhood. You wish you had not suffered so much. You wish you could have had loving parents. You want what you did not have because you were just a little child and deserved more.
8. Get angry for awhile if you have spent a lifetime suppressing your emotions. This is an important step in the process. It is part of letting go. When you get angry you are being honest. You are not making excuses for your parents. You are feeling what all children need to feel to survive and yet were not allowed to feel.
9. Do not get lost in the anger. Anger is a “double-edged sword.” It is part of the process, not the process itself. As soon as you are able, move on and put this all into perspective. Were the people who hurt you abused or neglected? What about their grandparents? If you are a parent did you pass down the pain to your children to ease your own burden?
10. After you put things into perspective, consider forgiving these people. To forgive means to let go of resentment. You do not have to like them, associate with them, or let them continue to hurt you.
11. Accept what happened to you. Remember that this takes time. You can’t do it when you want to. You can’t do it while you are in the angry stage. You will do it when you are ready. You can push yourself a little, but balance this with patience. .
12. Move on. This is the fun part. You create a new life. You embrace your present and dream about the future. You live a life of abundance. Of course, the past will come back to haunt you now and then because this is the way the brain works, especially when you go home for the holidays–to the scene of the crime. However, as time goes on the pain of the past will lessen and come up less often to disrupt y our new life in recovery.
13. Take care of yourself. Do for yourself what your parents could not or would not do when you were growing up. This means a little pampering and having fun.
14. Celebrate your victory and hard work. Use your imagination.
15. To heal, one must do things that are unfamiliar and frightening. This means facing the unknown. To help with this dilemma, I suggest that you consider getting in touch with your spiritual nature ─ that “vital principle or animating force traditionally believed to be within living beings.” I recommend this because somehow tapping into this rich inner resource transforms us, or alters our attitudes and feelings to the extent that we can change what we have never been able to change before. This transformation is a vital part of the healing process.
Spirituality, or a relationship with a “Higher Power,” can also give us the unconditional love and acceptance we were denied as children.
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