You probably wouldn’t take the time to read these articles if you were not committed to being the best dad you can be for your children. That starts with taking care of ourselves first. On an airplane, during the pre-flight instructions, the flight attendant advises parents that the masks will drop down in the event of a loss of oxygen.  They tell us to put on our masks before putting on the children’s. Why? Of course, it is because if we pass out, we won’t be able to help our child. In that, we are reminded that we are no good for others unless we take care of ourselves first. This applies when we are talking about inner health.

Today’s blog post is another in our series on Self-Care. Our conversation will focus on Inner Healing.

Healing Inside and Out

Being our best requires being holistically healthy in the deepest sense. Have you ever bit into an apple that looked delicious on the outside only to realize that it was mushy because it was overripe?  We can look good on the outside while suffering greatly internally. To be truly whole, we need to be healthy inside and out.

Inner healing is the process of addressing and resolving emotional and psychological wounds from past experiences. It aims to bring wholeness and well-being to a person’s mind, body, and spirit.

Here are some key aspects of inner healing:

Dealing with Past Hurts

This can involve negative experiences like abuse, neglect, trauma, or loss.

  • If a past hurt remains unhealed, the wound will get worse. As a physical injury can become infected and send poison throughout the body, unresolved trauma can have a significant impact on our lives.  

Here are some of the consequences of unhealed hurts:

  • Mental health issues: Unprocessed pain can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. The constant emotional strain can leave you overwhelmed and struggling to cope with daily life.
  • Relationship problems: Unhealed hurts can make trusting others and forming healthy relationships difficult.
    • An unhealed trauma is like an unexploded landmine. It can blow up on innocent people with the slightest trigger.
    • You might find yourself pushing people away or attracting unhealthy partners who mirror your past experiences.
  • Self-esteem and self-worth: Unresolved trauma can chip away at your self-esteem and make it difficult to believe in yourself. You might engage in negative self-talk or feel like you’re not good enough.
  • Emotional regulation: You might struggle to manage your emotions healthily. Unhealed hurts can lead to emotional outbursts, difficulty expressing feelings, or numbing your emotions altogether.
  • Destructive behaviors: Unprocessed pain can sometimes lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse, self-harm, or risky behaviors.
  • Repetitive patterns: Unhealed hurts can keep you stuck in unhealthy cycles. You might find yourself repeatedly having similar negative experiences in your life.

Inner healing helps us understand how these experiences have impacted us and develop healthier coping methods.

Forgiveness

Letting go of resentment and anger towards ourselves or others who may have caused us pain is crucial to inner healing.

In the book Total Forgiveness, the author R.T. Kendall argues that forgiveness isn’t just a virtue but a crucial choice and a way of life. Here are some key points:

  • Radical Forgiveness: The book challenges readers to move beyond a basic understanding of forgiveness. It’s not about condoning the wrongdoing or forgetting the hurt. Instead, it’s about letting go of the past and embracing a future filled with love, grace, and mercy.
  • Unconditional Release: Total forgiveness involves surrendering the right to hold onto the hurt and releasing the offender completely, even when it feels impossible. This act of releasing the other person also frees the one who forgives.
  • Daily Practice: The book acknowledges total forgiveness is a challenging but attainable goal. It requires ongoing effort, discipline, prayer, and reliance on God’s strength.
  • Transformation: Kendall emphasizes the transformative power of total forgiveness. By releasing bitterness, individuals can experience inner healing, improved relationships, and a life filled with greater peace and joy.
  • Biblical Foundation: The book draws heavily on the Bible to support the concept of total forgiveness. It highlights passages where Jesus and others preached forgiveness and mercy.
    • In one instance, Jesus teaches that forgiveness is a process that may need to be repeated an endless number of times – “70 times 7.”  (Matt. 18:21-22)
      • To achieve total forgiveness for a deeply hurtful offense, we may need to forgive the offending person or persons every time it is remembered until it no longer hurts.

Forgive God?

For some, total forgiveness may involve the need to forgive God.  You may be thinking, “That sounds blasphemous!” God can never need to be forgiven! He is perfect! He never makes mistakes! You are right about that.  However, we humans sometimes blame God for the bad things that happen to us, even though He is innocent. “God, why did you allow that to happen?” Or worse, “Lord, why did you do that to me?!? 

Thankfully, Jehovah is a great big God who can take being falsely blamed for the hurtful things that happen to us.

Faulty Thinking

Bad theology has led many people to believe that bad things that happen to people are caused by God. Scripture does not teach that God is the author of pain and suffering.

  • When Job, in his extreme grief, said, “The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away” (Job 1:21 NLT), he was not blaming God for all the misfortunes that happen to everyone.
    • In stating that, Job was worshipfully acknowledging Jehovah as the giver of his family and the provider of all his possessions.  (James 1:17)Job was lamenting that God had allowed His terrible losses.In faith and knowing that God is good, Job trusted that God’s will and His justice are perfect.
    • His response was heartfelt worship of the sovereign God, not anger.

To heal from any falsely perceived injury from God, forgive Him.

  • As you heal, your thinking will become clearer, and the truth about His goodness and His love for you will be revealed as never before.

Self-Compassion

Inner healing encourages us to develop kindness and understanding towards ourselves, even for our flaws.

  • Self-compassion involves forgiving ourselves for our mistakes.
  • It includes treating yourself with the same gentleness and understanding you would offer a close friend going through a tough time.
  • It means replacing self-criticism with supportive self-talk.

The Benefits of Inner Healing

The inner healing process can lead to personal growth and a stronger sense of self.

Inner healing offers a wide range of benefits that can improve your overall well-being. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Emotional Resilience:
    • By processing and releasing past hurts, you become better equipped to handle challenges and bounce back from setbacks.
    • You’ll have a stronger emotional foundation to navigate life’s difficulties.
  • Improved Mental Health:
    • Unhealed emotional wounds can contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
    • Inner healing can alleviate these symptoms and promote a more positive mental state.
  • Greater Self-Awareness:
    • Inner healing often involves introspection and self-reflection. This process can lead to a deeper understanding of your thoughts, emotions, and motivations. With greater self-awareness, you can make more conscious choices and build a life that aligns with your values.
  • Healthier Relationships:
    • Unresolved emotional baggage can negatively impact your relationships with others.
    • Inner healing can foster healthier connections by allowing you to trust more openly, communicate effectively, and build stronger bonds.
  • Increased Self-Esteem:
    • When you release negativity and forgive yourself for past mistakes, your self-esteem can flourish. Inner healing can help you develop a more positive self-image and believe in your own worth.
  • Personal Growth:
    • Inner healing is a journey of self-discovery. By confronting past hurts, you gain valuable insights into who you are and who you want to become. This process can lead to significant personal growth and positive change.
  • Greater Peace and Acceptance:
    • Letting go of past burdens can bring a profound sense of peace and acceptance. Inner healing allows you to live more fully in the present moment without being weighed down by the past.

Overall, inner healing is an investment in your well-being. It empowers you to take control of your emotional life, build stronger relationships, and create a more fulfilling future.

Inner healing can be approached through various methods, including therapy, journaling, meditation, and support groups. Some spiritual traditions also incorporate practices like prayer and forgiveness rituals into their approach.

Inspiration from the Holy Scriptures

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. – 3 John 2 NIV

Click here to read other blog posts on Self-Healing

Join

We invite you to join Fathering Strong, a new and growing community of fathers. To register, go to www.fatheringstrong.com, download the free app, and turn on the notifications. Explore the many resources, engage in conversations with other fathers, and share your story.

Your financial contributions allow us to serve fathers at no cost. Please consider donating. Fathering Strong is powered by Urban Light Ministries, Inc., a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 in Springfield, Ohio. Our mission is to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to the Heavenly Father.  Please consider supporting to work of building and growing Fathering Strong. Click here to donate. To learn more about Urban Light Ministries’ history, work, and mission, explore www.urbanlight.org.