Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself: 4 Key Elements Of The Emotional Healing Process

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"I don't want to dive into any childhood stuff or rehash old things from my past. I want to know why I'm feeling so anxious and stuck."

I get it. I've heard this from many clients who "just want to figure out" why they are struggling to move forward. I'm often asked about how long the process of therapy will take.

In my work with clients and on my own journey, I've developed a deep understanding of the process of healing, what it means to form a relationship with your inner child, and, more importantly, why it matters.

Holistic therapist and LCSW, Devon Mcleod, states, "When it comes to forming a relationship with your inner child, there's nothing more empowering than to give yourself the love, care, attention, and support that you needed growing up."

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You have the capacity to shift your experiences, challenge your negative beliefs, and make the changes you desire to live an authentic life. There are key elements to the process of healing to remember.

When you're mired in discomfort in the work to heal your soul and you're feeling a desire to stop therapy altogether, these four components can support your journey.

So, don't be so hard on yourself. Here are 4 key elements of the emotional healing process. 

1. Create awareness.

The initial step to healing is to create awareness about your feelings. Once you become aware of your patterns and the behaviors attached to your emotions, you can then get curious.

2. Get curious.

Acknowledging your emotions creates movement and energetic shifts. In this practice, your feelings do not have power over you. Instead, you move through them.

Responding to yourself from a curious place versus being critical allows for a deeper connection to yourself and others.

3. Have some self-compassion.

Connection serves you and offers the space to understand how your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors are serving you.

Self-compassion is the salve that can keep you in the process. In her research, Dr. Kristin Neff identifies three elements of self-compassion.

Self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. When you're kind to yourself versus being self-critical or ignoring your pain and difficult emotions, you enhance your tolerance to inevitable discomfort.

Humans are imperfect and vulnerable. Practicing mindfulness — being present with what is without judgment, can foster your journey, transform your life, heal your pain, and create space to live with authenticity.

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4. Allow for integration.

As a Gestalt therapist, my role isn't to support you in getting rid of the parts of you that you struggle with the most, it is to facilitate your integration, to become aware of the parts that need the most love and compassion.

The integration of new patterns of behaviors requires self-love, developing resilience, and practicing immeasurable patience.

Once you have awareness, you can choose to shift your patterns through practice and integrate the lessons into new ways of living.

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Cyclical in nature, your willingness to stay in the journey requires an understanding that healing involves expansion with greater awareness, and a knowing that you will collapse into old patterns.

This contraction is part of the process. Your body will seek comfort in what it knows. Healing involves the shake-up of energy and a process that shallows out old grooves of behaviors and defenses.

It's not easy nor is it always profound. The process of healing is not driven by the ego, the need to be right or perfect.

Healing comes from within. It is a process and a practice that takes time, which is the most valuable gift you can offer yourself.

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Christine Vargo, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a certified Gestalt Therapist, and a Certified Daring Way Facilitator (CDWF - Clinician) currently in private practice. In your work with Christine, you will develop a transformative connection with yourself through embodying your core values, practicing self-compassion, and living your purpose. You can find more information about Christine and the services she is currently offering on her website.