Let’s talk quickly about emotional restoration
My father used to restore old cars. As a child, I never understood why. He would bring home a “junker” that no one in their right mind would want. My mom inevitably would stand at the front door with her hands on her hips looking with frustration at what would be another project that we seemingly did not have time or money for.
This process would keep my father up late at night (yet another source of contention with my mom). It would start by my dad finding someone who had garage space to work in. Then the process would begin; removing engines, sanding, painting, locating chrome and shooting the bull with his buds who were also junker junkies.
Days turned into weeks, then months and eventually a restored car would emerge. I will never forget the unveiling of a white 1952 Chevrolet Coupe that was painted so thick and shiny; it looked like you could dive into the surface of it and swim away.
After a short period of time, the car would be sold and my dad would be ready to start the entire process all over again. As I said, I never understood it. That is until I got a little older and went through some challenges, experienced some failures and came out of some situations with a few scars and lost dignity. That’s when I understood that every one who has gone through something similar, loves the thought of restoration. We all love a Cinderella story. We love to see the end of Gladiator when he walks through the fields of heaven to be restored with his family. We all have the desire to somehow take back what life has taken from us. We want to restore what others have taken from us and what we have regretfully given away.
To restore is to:
- bring back or reinstate
- return to a former condition, place, or position
- repair or renovate so as to return it to its original condition
As an adult, I love to see things restored. Old homes, priceless works of art and yes, even old cars. I believe this is because I know what it is like to be in need of restoration myself. I am guessing that you may know what that is like as well. The good news is that there is hope. If you are still alive to read this blog, you are capable of experiencing restoration.
Restoration does not necessarily mean the removal of every consequence that we are experiencing from past situations. It does however mean that through restoration, we can position ourselves for success so that our later chapters can outshine our former ones.
What we accomplish internally eventually makes its way to our external lives as well. As we think, so do we become and where the mind goes, the person follows. In other words, all lasting change starts on the inside and works its way out. I want to share with you ten practical and powerful steps that I used to achieve long term emotional restoration. I want to emphasize that this is a process, not a magic pill. In the long run it is choices, not magic, that equips us to build a life we enjoy. The following steps when practiced on a daily basis will result in the healing and restoration of your emotions as well as bringing calm and clarity to your mind.
1. Develop a Clearly Defined Vision for Your Future
What do you want your life to look like within the next year? What gifts and talents would you like to be using to serve others and generate income? How do you want to feel on an emotional level? Write these things down and revisit them daily. As you review your overall vision on a regular basis, it will become a part of your subconscious and you will begin to take the steps necessary to achieve it.
2. Line Your Thoughts and Words up with Your Desire to be Emotionally Restored
Negative thoughts and words cannot give you a positive outcome. Our thoughts and words contain power. What we think and talk about on a regular basis becomes our reality. Do your thoughts and words agree with the reality you desire for your life and your future? Our brain is a computer and our thoughts and words are the software that programs it. Pay attention to what you think and say and start purposefully using these powerful tools to your advantage.
3. Shift Your Focus from Your Past to Your Future
What we focus on grows for good or bad. Where is your mental focus? What are you rehearsing over and over again in your head? Do you regurgitate the past or are you planning and designing the future that you desire? Just as your car will move in the direction that you are focused on; your life will do the same. Make sure that your focus is “facing forward”.
4. Embrace the Truth that You are Enough
We all deal with the lie of insufficiency that whispers in our ear, “you’re not enough”. It will tell us that we are not smart enough, good looking enough talented enough, educated enough, etc. As long as we listen to this lie, it will go on and on.
Take a moment and picture two flower pots. One pot is filled with lush tropical flowers. This pot represents a situation that demonstrates you are enough, such as a class you successfully completed or your child telling you that they love you. The other pot is filled with a stick like plant covered in thorns. This pot represents a past failure such as a relationship gone bad. If this is the only pot you focus on, it could make you feel that you are not enough. Now my question to you is this. Which pot are you going to water with your focus? The pot that you water is the reality that you will create for yourself. The truth is that you are more than enough to be successful!
5. Forgive Yourself and Others
Forgiveness is a fundamental part of emotional healing because it frees us up to move forward with our lives. The most important thing to understand about genuine forgiveness is that it starts with self. I have to forgive myself for my personal failures before I can forgive others because I cannot give away what I do not have. It is also important for you to be aware that the people you love the most deserve the best version of you. This includes you forgiving yourself and moving forward.
Once you have forgiven yourself (it may take a little time) you will be equipped to begin the process of forgiving those who have wronged you. You do not forgive others for their benefit. You forgive them so that you are free to move forward and thrive! It is important to understand the forgiveness does not always mean the restoration of the relationship. Some relationships are not healthy and never will be. True forgiveness means to make a conscious decision that the person who wronged you does not owe you anything. It means that you choose to stop thinking and talking about the situation. It means you drop it, lay it down, let it go. What’s the payoff? You are no longer controlled by their behavior and you are free to move forward and embrace your future. It is important to remember that this is a process and it may take some time but it is well worth the effort.
6. Feed your Spirit
As people, we feed our bodies and we feed our minds. We often never think about feeding our spirits. Your spirit is the deepest part of who you are and it cannot be ignored if you want to be emotionally healed. We have a world full of people that are “spirit sick”. You do not have to be one of those people. What is it that feeds your spirit? Is it music, nature or art? Is it prayer, worship or quiet time with the God who loves you? Taking time to feed your spirit on a daily basis is not an option if you seek to be healthy and whole in every other part of your life. It is like a car. Even if you drive a Bentley, it will not perform on an empty tank. Taking time to feed your spirit regularly will put you in position to become the highest version of yourself and reach your highest level of your potential.
7. Make and Foster Healthy Connections
There are no successful lone rangers in life. It is not possible to achieve the best that is available to you when doing it by yourself. It is going to take you combining your gifts and talents with the gifts and talents of others to achieve your life vision. Success does not occur without connection. We need others to challenge, encourage and help us along the way. In addition, we are now seeing higher levels of addiction than ever before. Studies show that isolation feeds and fosters this problem. One of the most powerful weapons against addiction is healthy connections.
As you begin to make, feed and foster healthy connections, you will begin to see your motivation, talents and opportunities expand and propel you to your desired place of service and success.
8. Practice Gratitude
Grateful people are happy. They have learned that gratitude positions them for success. Gratitude protects you from negativity, rewires your brain to operate in a more joyful state and decreases stress. It heals your emotions, improves your sleep and increases your self-esteem and performance. Gratitude makes you more attractive to others and improves your relationships. If someone perceives you as ungrateful, they will not want to become one more thing that you are not grateful for.
Just start listing everything you are grateful for. Did you wake up this morning? There is someone in your city that didn’t. Can you see this blog to read it? There is someone out there who cannot. Did you have the privilege of not waking up in a hospital room this morning? There are hospitals full of people today who did not.
You will be amazed at the peace you will have; the joy you will experience; and, the opportunities you will begin to see when you make gratitude something that you practice on purpose every day.
9. Protect and Strengthen Your Body
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to lead a recovery group for people fighting and winning their war with addiction. I will never forget one evening when a gentleman got up to speak and opened by saying, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself”. That gave me a really good laugh. It also opened my eyes.
What if I told you that I would buy you any car that you wanted? How would you feel? The only string is that if you chose to take it, this would be the only car you could drive for the rest of your live. I believe you would take extremely good care of that car.
The body you have is the only one that you are ever going to get. Respect it. Appreciate it. Strengthen it. Give it rest. Feed and hydrate it in a way that proves you actually respect yourself. A healthy body nurtures our emotional health. Choosing to make these daily efforts now will save you a world of regret later.
10. Manage What You Have Been Given
We have so many great things to juggle that our blessings can also seem like struggles at time. We have to manage family, finance, time, career and much more. I have found that any time one of these areas starts to become a challenge, I have gotten out of balance. What I have learned too do is “locate the hole in my boat”. What is causing too much time, money, or joy to drain out of my life? Is there an area where I need to humble myself and ask for help? Do I have activities in my schedule that I am doing to just to please others? Am I buying things to impress those around me?
Sometimes we fall into the trap of wanting to look successful more that we want to be successful. When I identify the hole in my boat; I can patch it by making smarter choices and changes. In my choices lies my greatest power. When I understand this, I can choose to live a life that I can manage so that it does not start to manage me.
Emotional healing is a reality that you can experience yourself. It will not happen overnight but it will happen if you refuse to give up on yourself. Simply start each day by asking yourself, what is one thing that I can do in the next 24 hours that will get me closer to my goal of emotional healing.
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