There was this annoying bump that I had on my skin that took the longest to heal. Just when I thought it was healed, I would wake up with more inflammation. Finally, after a couple of  weeks, it began to scab over. Me, because it was slightly distracting to me, pealed the scab off only to discover, I interrupted the healing process. It is then that I realized what happens when hurts don’t heal properly. The hurt, if unaddressed, will develop a scab, but the wound never heals completely. At any moment something can trigger that wound to reopen and expose what’s underneath.
I began to notice some of my own wounds that, over the years, had developed a scab, but were still raw underneath. I noticed that in my attempt to soothe my emotional wounds over with surface level smiles, hellos, and fake giggles; the hurt and resentment were brewing underneath and where, like that bump that kept getting inflamed, began inflaming my interactions with the ones that had hurt me in one way or another.

How can I begin the healing process?

I thought, you’d never ask. First, admit that you were hurt and identify how the hurt impacted you. For example, I had to go to my loved one and have a conversation about the incident and explain how I perceived their actions. Now, this process can go several ways, the person(s) can accept responsibility, not take responsibility for their actions, or they can become defensive and/or shut down. Either way, you are not responsible for how they respond, but you are only responsible for your delivery. This process is not a blame game; therefore, going to them telling them how horrible of a person they were and blaming them for it all is not the proper way to handle it. The key thing to do is express how you feel and take responsibility for your part of the matter. This could be something as simple as stating, “I take full responsibility for not coming to you when it happened and being distant” (if this applies to your situation).
I wish I could say that the relationship that was damaged, would somehow be restored and your wound instantly healed, but that’s not entirely true. Like all wounds, physical and emotional, it will heal over time. Your healing may look different from the next person. Fortunately, for some of my old wounds, I was able to rebuild the relationship, but in a healthy manner. For others, I had to accept that I took responsibility for my part and could move on (with or without the person’s forgiveness).

Often learning to forgive ourselves is the hardest. Guilt has a way of picking at wounds and making the wounds worse, so finding a way of letting go of the past and forgiving yourself for your failures are also key to healing. If you’re having a hard time with this process; whether healing old wounds, forgiveness, or guilt, it is important that you seek professional help such as a mental
health provider or spiritual counsel, for example. Wherever this post finds you in your healing journey, there is hope! It is absolutely a hard journey, but it is so worthwhile in the end. After a while, the scab will fall off, leaving only a small scar. Like me, you can use that scar to encourage someone that may need to heal.
-Dr. Tiffany