Physical injuries have always been relatively easy for me to overcome. Doing all my own stunts for the last 40+ years has taught me a lot by default. I do the physical therapy, eat the right foods to help regenerate my tissues, sleep and adjust my physical activity to accommodate healing. I never let myself identify as being broken and keep a clear vision of where I want to go. It’s easy to gage my results because I can see progress at the gym.
Emotional injuries I find, have always been harder. Sometimes it looks like you’ve made progress on the surface but it’s deceptive. You can not compartmentalize a physical injury and get back to normal because well, your arm is broken, there is that cast you’re dealing with and your grip strength is so weak you couldn’t squeeze a banana hard enough to bruise it. Emotions you can compartmentalize. Ignore the pain, put on a happy face (or in my case RBF) and keep going. But, it’s like putting a bandaid on a bullet wound. You can leave the bullet in there and simply stitch up the wound and eventually on the surface you would look healed. That bullet is still in there though causing infection and in time will turn your body toxic and you will experience a system failure. Then you aren’t fooling anyone … you’re turning blackish-green and well … your arm fell off … gross.
Unprocessed emotional wounds are the same. You actually need to process them or you’ll turn toxic. In a culture where I hear the phrase “don’t get offended” thrown out at the first sign of any emotion south of happy-clappy I believe it causes a lot of people to compartmentalize emotion and pretend they are not seriously hurting. It’s like there is a fear something is wrong with you if you are not a one dimensional joy robot. We forget that Jesus was called a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief in conjunction with having more joy than his companions. He even got mad enough to handcraft his own whip and throw a few tables around the temple. I’ll be the first to admit that the last time someone told me the joy of the Lord is our strength when I was feeling depressed made me wish they would choke on their pumpkin spice latte. You know … not enough to be fatal … just enough to abruptly stop talking due to the nutmeg laced milk they just inhaled.
I have never been scared of expressing intense emotion. I do find that kind of emotion scares those that have never been taught we need to dig out the bullets before we slap a bandaid on the wound. It can be bloody and there is sometimes screaming but you just get in there and yank that sucker out. The people that can’t deal with that kind of realness may draw away to their comfy blankets and motivational videos, cover their ears and and say la-la-la while you scream but ya’ know … that’s OK. They are where they are at in their own journey. No one is responsible for your emotional health but you. Forgive them and forgive the person who shot you in the back while you are at it. You don’t have to agree with your assailants behavior and in fact sometimes you just need to cut them out of your life completely but un-forgiveness is a self inflicted gunshot and you probably have been the villain in someone else’s narrative at some point yourself. Rise above. The next time they get shot you’ ll have been to that hardplace they are having trouble facing and may be the one to help them take off the joy mask and dig in their with the forceps and get the shrapnel out. Don’t forget the leather strap and whiskey. You’ll both probably need it.
Be free ~