If you have ever vowed to go on a diet, eat better, exercise more; to stop drinking/smoking/spending so much or even to stop getting involved with the same kind of toxic person – only to fail dismally yet again and then beat yourself up over it – then this article is for you.
Chances are you not only hone in on your behaviour as a sign you are weak, a failure and deeply flawed, you back up this negative image of yourself with even more abuse and negative self-talk when you ‘fail’ to deal with it – thus making yourself feel even worse about you and in turn perpetuating the cycle. I’ve just been writing an article about soul wounds for AK (for those who are curious, go check out ‘Mid-Life Transits because the information in it about soul wounds doesn’t just apply to people of a ‘certain age’ but to everyone); and this got me thinking deeply about the soul wounds we all carry and which many of us are unaware of.
You see, when we over-eat, drink too much, spend money we don’t have on things which may give us a short-term ‘high’ but don’t really fill the emptiness we feel inside, smoke too much, over-indulge in anything whether it’s legal or illegal – and that includes relationships that may not be good for us in the long term – what we are in fact engaged in is an attempt to either self-soothe or self-medicate ourselves to relieve the spiritual pain we feel within. And although we may achieve this in the short term, it doesn’t work in the long term because even though we vow to ourselves that we will stop drinking/over-eating/smoking/cut up those credit cards – sooner or later we feel the pain of the soul wound inside and off we go again – repeating the behaviour and the guilt and self-loathing at our perceived ‘flaws’ that follows.
In order to break this cycle we need to look at what we are doing and ourselves with love and see the behaviour for what it truly is – a symptom of something that is wrong – not with us – but of an injury we may not even know we have. Once we begin to acknowledge that this, and not a ‘weakness’ or ‘flaw’ in us is what is driving us to over-indulge or behave in a certain way, we can now ditch beating ourselves up over it, and start to look at the problem not from a judgmental point of view, but from a desire to discover what the issue really is. When we can start to do this, we then come from a place of self-love and healing.
Now, I’m not saying this is easy work because very often it’s not. It often means recognising the feelings that trigger the behaviour in the first place and allowing yourself to experience these in order to really see what it is you are trying so hard to cover up and NOT feel. This is something that very often we have to initially go through alone and without the coping behaviour we have created. For example, are you comfort eating/drinking/smoking because deep down inside you are lonely? Are you buying yourself things not because you need them, can actually afford them or even truly believe you are ‘worth it’ but because you are trying to cover up a deep seated sense of insecurity that you are not ‘enough’ or perfect just as you are? This kind of work needs to be approached with a great deal of courage, kindness and self-love and it can make you feel raw and exposed when you get to the bottom of what the real need is that is driving you.
What I can tell you is that your higher self knows what the issue is and though you may criticise your behaviour or failure to deal with it, it is in fact a powerful clue as to the true nature of your pain and also a big clue to fixing it! So, if you approach it by allowing yourself to fully feel the pain and acknowledge that it is in fact there to help you, you are already more than half-way towards healing.
Sometimes with this kind of work we do require the help of a caring professional to support us, so don’t be afraid to reach out to a doctor, therapist, join a 12 Step Program or even talk to one of our caring readers to help you gain insight and clarity during the process.
If you had a physical injury or illness, would heaping negative self-talk and criticism on yourself enable you to heal or get better? Of course not! In fact, it could have a depressive effect on your immune system and delay your body’s ability to heal. It’s the same when we have a psychological or soul wound that we’re trying so desperately to either cover up (what I call the ‘spiritual band-aid approach) or soothe with certain behaviours. Negative self-talk isn’t going to help with those either. To put it simply: negative self-talk fuels the symptoms and blocks our ability to see what it is that is really behind our behaviour – a soul wound and not a ‘fault’ or ‘weakness’ in us.
Become the soul detective in your own life and see whatever behaviours you want to change as powerful clues to uncover what’s really hurting or holding you back and know negative self-talk plays no part in this powerful healing process – self-love and acceptance is the only answer.
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