12 Empowering Questions for Healing Your Heart Wounds
Life is comprised of endings and beginnings; the good and the not-so-good. Joy and pain. “When we learn to distinguish between pain and suffering, we discover that sometimes pain is a call to action. At other times, we must simply accept our losses and tragedies. In either case, pain comes and goes. Suffering grows out of our reaction to the original pain”, writes, Jack Kornfield, author of A Wise Heart.
When I first read this passage, it evoked several memories of past experiences which in hindsight amplified how I prolonged my mental and emotional suffering. I resisted and denied the truth of my emotions in most cases, and I became attached to my “beliefs and assumptions” about how the situation “should be” instead of the facts of how it was! Recognizing that I had a role in prolonging the mental and emotional suffering that I experienced during these situations resulted in me experiencing an Aha! Moment. I realized that whenever I am challenged with loss, heartache, and disappointment, I have the power to choose how long I will suffer. So do you!
Challenge Myths about Suffering
I know this isn’t what we’ve been conditioned to believe. Yet, it is the truth. Think about it for a moment. When you experienced your most recent heartache, disappointment or loss, how much of your attention was focused on thoughts about how you believed the situation or a person “should be”? Be honest. Most of your attention, like me and many others, focused primarily on how we felt about the situation. This is a natural reaction to a soul wound. It is important that we honor what we feel by expressing our emotions in a manner that does not harm others or ourselves. However, your suffering grew out of “clinging” to beliefs about how a situation or a person “should be” instead of focusing your attention and energy towards “what is” and how you could make good from a not- so-good situation. Right?
Ask Empowering Questions
I believe empowering questions is one of the most powerful tools we can use for our personal growth and development. Empowering questions get right to the heart of a matter, expands our awareness and evokes self-reflection that stimulates action that enables us to tap into the strength of our human spirit. When we access the strength of our spirit, we are able to cultivate the mindset necessary to move beyond soul wounds and move into a place of power and authority in and over our lives.
If you are feeling stuck in any area of your life because of a heart wound, the following empowering questions can help you to break camp from feelings and thoughts of helplessness and uncertainty. For the sake of progress, focus on one heart wound at a time. Trust the process of self-discovery and the wisdom that comes with greater self-understanding. As you take the time to complete these questions, tune out distractions so that you tune into the voice of your spirit. When we follow the leading of our spirit we are much more likely to reclaim a sense of power in our lives and better navigate our way forward from any experience.
1. What is the dominant storyline (mind chatter) that is influencing the narrative that you are telling yourself and others about why you are stuck in your pain?
2. How is your self-talk about this heart wound diminishing your self-esteem and self-confidence? How is it strengthening your self-esteem and self-confidence?
3. Do you believe that better is possible after experiencing this soul wound? Why? Or Why not?
4. How has your self-talk and beliefs about rather better is possible in this aspect of your life influenced your response to the situation that you believed created your heart wound?
5. What beliefs are you “clinging to” regarding how this situation “should be” or “could have been”?
6. Which of your past experiences do you believe are at the root of these beliefs?
8. How much of your life are you willing to give up in order for you to use “should be” or “could have been” beliefs as mental and emotional crutches as to why you can’t let go and move beyond this pain?
9. Why would you rather remain angry, miserable, or unhappy, or see yourself as unworthy, incapable, or too weak because of a belief about how a situation “should be” or “could have been”?
10. Identify ten adjectives that describe how you have reacted towards life because of this heart wound? Are these adjectives an indicator of your best self under normal situations? If not, which factors in this situation are influencing you to be someone that you are not?
11. Imagine the strongest version of yourself. Which ten adjectives would describe how the strongest “self” would respond to life and the situation?
12. What steps that correlate with each of the adjectives identified in Q#11 can you begin to take immediately that releases you from dwelling in and on the pain experienced from this heart wound?
Reclaim Your Power
We have the tendency to over think challenging and negative experiences. The result: we become paralyzed by fear, uncertainty and self-doubt. You are stronger than you think. You can transform negative self-talk, limited beliefs and negative assumptions by choosing to envision the strongest version of yourself in this situation, activating the power of your imagination and the strength of your spirit to take actions that will move you beyond feeling hurt, sad, and grief-stricken with despair. You can muster up the courage to begin anew and redefine your life based on a "new normal".
Over and over again, due to the unexpected deaths of my parents, two brothers, and my son, Blease, numerous other disappointments, losses and heartaches, life has challenged me to dig deeper within the core of my spirit to move beyond numerous heart wounds. I won't lie and say that “all the time” it has been easy. I can assure you of two things: first, I found out that my spirit and heart was stronger than I believed when the event first happened. Second, the heart wounds that were easier for me to move beyond were due to my willingness to accept the reality of "what is", no matter how much pain I felt. The experiences in my life that has created my greatest emotional suffering came as a result of my refusal to let go of my beliefs about how a situation "should have been". As I began to accept the truth of my "new normal", my mental and emotional suffering eventually subsided and I was able to tap into the strength residing in my spirit to gain the clarity necessary to navigate my way forward.
No experience in your life has the power to define what you can or cannot move beyond. You have the power to choose if a heart wound will shackle you with anger, bitterness and despair, or, if you will tap into the strength of your spirit to move beyond emotional pain and exercise your power to move on with your life. It is my hope and prayer that these questions will help you begin the journey of accepting "what is" so that you can begin to channel your time, energy and faith towards creating the new normal of what can be!
It’s Your Move ~ Aspire Higher