Two weeks ago, I started a series on getting ready for the next big thing in your life. Part one of this series focused on three key issues to consider while we wait for our blessings to arrive, part two switched gears to some things we can do to improve our relationship skills, and part three discusses some things we can do to improve our emotional health.
As I shared in part one, whatever my next blessing is, I want to be ready to receive it when it arrives. I wasn’t ready in the past and almost missed out. When I began to get ready, one of the first things I worked on was my emotional health—another key component to a successful marriage or a successful life.
Being emotionally healthy is the key to liking yourself, feeling comfortable in your own skin, and enjoying where you are on the way to where you are going. I had all of that until the pain I endured in that previous relationship changed me. I felt foolish and was withdrawn around family and friends. Where was the strong, confident woman that I knew and loved? She was buried under a pile of hurt; I wanted her back; however, I didn’t know where to begin. Then, I stumbled upon Bunny Wilson’s book, Knight in Shining Armor.
Take an Emotional Inventory
In it, Bunny recommends we pay attention to our thoughts and how they make us feel. If our thoughts don’t bring us joy, then like the clothes in my closet that didn’t bring me joy, get rid of them. Sometimes, this is as easy as changing your thoughts about the situation.
For example, my boss recently told me to “curtail” work on the aspect of my job that I enjoy most, so that I could focus on other areas. I immediately felt dejected at the news. That is until I spoke to a co-worker and she said, “You know the devil is trying to steal your joy.” That was all I needed to lift my spirits.
Examine Unresolved Emotions
On other occasions, it wasn’t as simple as a change in perspective. For deeper, unresolved feelings to go away, I needed to examine and resolve them. This required some emotional work. I wanted to be emotionally healthy, so I did the work. Whenever I experienced a negative emotion, I examined it to understand my feelings and the triggers that caused them.
That was what happened with Reggie. Once Reggie innocently said, “We need to talk.” Suddenly, and without my realizing why, I was afraid that I was about to be criticized. It didn’t make sense; Reggie had not criticized me. So, why was I reacting this way? After much prayer, reflection, and discussion, I realized that Reggie was the victim of my baggage.
Previously, the man I was seeing would say, “We need to talk”, and then, proceed to berate me or tear me down verbally. So, Reggie’s innocent statement became a trigger for me, a warning sign of impending doom.
Release the Pain
Once we know our triggers, we can work through the pain associated with the trigger and learn to respond differently. Some of my emotions were buried because the emotions were too painful to feel. However, the path to emotional healing is often through pain. I had to feel the pain to release the pain. It wasn’t easy and I shed my fair share of tears, but I learned that tears are cleansing. They cleanse our emotional wounds. So, I pushed forward in hopes of resolving as many issues as I could.
That was challenging, but worth it because, at least in regards to those emotions, I am now pain-free. And that is a blessing. What better way to spend the time waiting for your next big thing then receiving another blessing along the way?
Once I realized that Reggie was not the man who had attacked me with words, I began to fight the fear and share with Reggie how I was feeling and why. Recognizing that I acted out of character, Reggie was supportive. Together, we worked through it. I am happy to say that we finished dealing with this issue before we got married. So, when the time came to say, “I do,” I was emotionally ready.
Don’t Go it Alone
Emotions rarely follow reason. In fact, we can be down right irrational when we are in our emotions. Reggie used to say, “Men act stupid when they are in their emotions.” Unfortunately, that is not a gender exclusive quality. For this reason, I don’t recommend working on your emotions in a vacuum. You need the objectivity and alternate perspective of a trusted confidant/advisor.
I say trusted confidant because you are digging up emotions, some that have been buried a long time and for good reason. The situations around these emotions are sensitive and you are not going to want to share them with just anybody.
Also, I recommend this person be someone who can offer some advice and/or clarity, possibly a professional therapist. In both the situation on my job and the one with Reggie, the people I discussed it with could provide some guidance. My co-worker saw that this was an attack and Reggie saw that I was acting out of character. They both demonstrated some maturity—spiritual and otherwise. That is helpful when dealing with emotional issues.
Also, this healing may not be the blessing of your dreams. However, it may be negatively impacting the arrival of your dream. What I mean is God may want to bless you with the desire of your heart, but He is waiting for you to release some pain and heal your unresolved emotions. He is waiting for this because without this healing you simply aren’t ready for your blessing.
For instance, God may want to bless you with the car of your dreams (a Lexus or Tesla, Okay those might just be the cars of my dreams, but I digress). However, you are still plagued by unresolved feelings involving the car accident that totaled your previous car, so all you have for the time being is a hoopty or the bus. The dream car is on the way, but God wants you to heal first so you can enjoy it fully.
Lastly, I encourage you to do the work of emotional healing outlined above for how it will bless you emotionally now and for how it will help prepare you for your next big thing. The healing that comes from resolving unresolved feelings is priceless. Yes, improving my emotional health helped prepare me for marriage, but it also improved me for me. It is a blessing in its own right.
Just like with your relationships, as your emotional health improves, so will your life by making you a happier, healthier, more positive person. And positive people are more likely to attract other positive people and things in their lives. So, waiting or not, your next blessing will be on the way.
Questions: Do your thoughts leave you feeling good? Or bad? Why? What unresolved emotions need healing in your life? How could releasing the pain help you prepare for your next big thing? Who do you trust to help you in this journey? Please respond by clicking on the Comment, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest buttons below.