How to Stop the Cycle of Emotional Scar Tissue
When you think of pain, does your mind go immediately to sore joints or a physical trauma? When our bodies hurt it means that something isn’t working correctly, that we’re out of alignment, that something is damaged. Working through the pain can be a process, and even though we can feel the pain, it can still come as a shock to hear what is happening within. I recently learned first hand.
I went to the chiropractor for the first time after a massage therapist encouraged me to have my left shoulder checked out. Zoning out, while staring at the skeleton in the corner of the exam room, I heard them say “Wow, you have a lot of scar tissue.” I was, to say the least, shocked to hear this.
Scar tissue? What? How? How could this be going on in my body without me being aware of it? My neck and shoulders can get sore/tight, and sometimes I am really in pain, but the thought of scar tissue had never entered my mind.
The chiropractor went on to explain that anything (or a number of things) could have happened to my shoulder, and over time it turned into scar tissue. This was unsettling because no major injury came to mind, I was totally unsure of what could have caused the trauma.
We can get so used to living with pain that we start to become less aware of it. It becomes our new normal and we adjust and tolerate it. That’s part of what makes people so resilient, we can be so adaptable, especially under stressful or traumatic circumstances.
But scar tissue isn’t just physical.
We all have events that leave emotional scar tissue for us to “tolerate.” For some, it can be small everyday issues that add up, for others it could be major, catastrophic life events that change us. It’s the dark places where we go emotionally that can draw out the recovery process. Negative thinking, to me, is one of biggest ways that you carry some scar tissue from your past. Thoughts can get tangled up in your history and hold you back in life. Negative thoughts block you from growing. Negative thoughts keep you from feeling better. Negative thoughts eat away at your ability to imagine a better future.
You can stifle or even paralyze your creativity when your thoughts get stuck in a cycle of these same negative patterns.
Here are three common patterns of negativity:
Too Good to be True -- When people give you compliments or you are successful at something, you can’t quite believe it. You may fear that people will eventually “figure out who you really are” (imposter syndrome), or something bad is eventually (and inevitably) going to happen so don’t trust that good things can continue (you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop). Either way, you block yourself from really enjoying and experiencing the good things. Constant worry and futurizing can create new problems, so finding a way to stop the negative voices shutting you down is imperative to fostering your creative spirit.
Caught in a Loop -- You replay something in your head that happened in the past over and over again, searching for signs that you did something wrong. You trick yourself into thinking that you are doing something positive in this process (reflecting/trying to be a better person) but really you are just trying to find a way to think negatively about yourself. Putting yourself down will not help you find solutions should a similar situation present itself.
Setting the Bar too High -- Having expectations of yourself and/or others is one thing, but some standards can be set too high. When nothing is ever good enough, you find yourself thinking negatively about things all day long. And when the only thoughts you have are negative ones, it can create a damaging energy that will translate into a self-fulfilling prophecy of negative situations.
To treat my physical injuries I am icing, stretching and using a hard massage ball on my shoulder to help ease the pain. It is a process in itself that I need to dedicate time to for healing to happen. Emotional scar tissue, just like its physical embodiment, is not going to go away on its own; you need to actively work on it. New experiences can help you to break down your negative thinking and open you up to other ways of feeling and being in the world. As with many things in life, it is a practice and there is no easy, overnight fix. Healing yourself emotionally and physically takes time, and should be done in the most careful way.
Through therapy and commitment we can help you repair your emotional scar tissue. Creating a space to be able to honor yourself and provide positive affirmations is just the beginning of the healing process. Click here to schedule your FREE consultation.