Imagine someone coming away from a serious car crash with a major leg injury. The crash itself might have only lasted a few seconds; the effects of the injury, however will last much longer. Extensive rehabilitation will be needed over an extended period for the leg to fully heal and be restored to its original condition.
Recovering from emotional injury and regaining full functionality takes time.
We readily accept that recovering from a physical injury and regaining full functionality takes time, work, and support, with a few challenges and setbacks along the way. Yet we often struggle to accept that recovery from an emotional injury requires the same process. We can be incredibly hard on ourselves, thinking we should be able to recover quickly and easily, all on our own.
Or, perhaps you open up and share with someone in hopes of receiving support and empathy, but instead you're told you should “just get over it" and move on. You're left feeling dismissed and diminished as a result.
Emotional injuries are as real as physical injuries.
Emotional injuries are just as real as any physical injury you might experience. The damage inflicted can be severe and far-reaching, with the impact reaching across multiple areas of your life. That's why attempting to “just get over it" just doesn't work.
Your self-esteem and sense of self-worth, your ability to navigate relationships, and your decision-making can all be compromised when your emotional state is debilitated and you're not operating with full functionality. As with a physical injury, it's to be expected that healing and recovery will take time,
“Just Get Over It" Leads to Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
One of the dangers with the “just get over it" attitude, whether it's self-directed or coming from someone else, is that you may actually try to do it. That is, you make a genuine effort to simply push your emotional problems aside, and you stop acknowledging what's really there and what's really going on.
But that doesn't mean the problems have gone away or been resolved. On the contrary, you can wind up compounding your issues by resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Coping mechanisms are the mental strategies we adopt to avoid unpleasant thoughts and emotions, such as denial, repression, and rationalization. Left unchecked, these strategies can become extremely unhealthy. Over time, continued reliance on them can lead to a skewed view of reality.
How Do You Heal Emotional Injuries?
How exactly do you go about addressing and healing emotional injuries? In part, it depends on the nature of the problem. It also depends on the person and their comfort level with various approaches.
Psychotherapy, counselling, and group therapy all have their strengths, and many people benefit from these interventions. But they aren't your only options.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can also be useful in helping you manage your thoughts, which in turn helps with managing emotions. And if you're at a place where you feel emotionally stable and ready to move forward, coaching can help you map out your next steps, and support you in taking those steps.
In some cases, simply sharing with someone who gives you room to express yourself freely without holding back or self-censoring can be hugely beneficial. The empathy and validation you receive enables you to release negative emotions, rather than keeping them stuffed inside to grow and become overwhelming over time.
For those who feel equipped to tackle things on their own, books and courses that you work through at your own pace can be effective. Don't rush; take time to engage in self-reflection as you process the information you're taking in.
Journal writing as a tool to explore thoughts, feelings, and events.
Many people benefit from the practice of journal writing, which allows for the uncensored exploration of thoughts, feelings, and events. Writing provides an opportunity to revisit and reframe past difficulties in a controlled, emotionally safe manner. Not only do you get things out of your head and onto paper, you're also able to gain insight and new perspectives, and you can make a clear distinction between past and present.
The practice of journal writing also allows you to notice patterns, identify triggers, and track your progress over time.
However you choose to address your emotional injuries, the key takeaway is this: don't bully yourself (or allow anyone else to bully you) into thinking your issues are trivial or irrelevant, and that you should be able to “just get over them" in the blink of an eye.
Life is complex, people are complex, and the issues we face are often complex as well. Is healing possible? Absolutely. The human spirit is a wonder, and people recover from the most extreme and traumatic of circumstances. But dismissive comments like “just get over it" are not the solution. Healing is a process that takes time, work, and the right support.
Image Credits: fotoblend at Pixabay