The first step is recognizing there is a problem. This can come in any form, such as an angry outburst by someone who is generally quiet and self contained. One may give the impression that everything is ok when it’s not.
Anger often masks the grief and pain below the surface. An angry outburst can be a “red flag” for underlying pain caused by a lack of connection to self and others. One can easily feel that their needs are not important or are being ignored, leading to a sense of abandonment and isolation. At this stage one often feels that their pain is being caused by others, and there is a tendency to blame others for their unhappiness. Sometimes this aggression is turned onto themselves in the form of self criticism or depressed mood, pushing unmet needs further beneath the surface.
When anger is recognized and released, one often gets in touch with the deep sadness and grief that often lie beneath the surface. It is the abandoned Self that is crying out in pain and finally being heard, sometimes for the first time. Grieving old hurts and losses from childhood, and allowing oneself to feel the original pain is a big step in the recovery process. It is in allowing oneself to truly grieve that healing becomes possible. Learning to own and communicate our needs and feelings appropriately, and having healthy boundaries based on healthy self esteem form a cornerstone of recovery.
By embracing our gifts as well as learning to accept and forgive our shortcomings, reintegration of the true self gradually occurs. Gentle self care is an important part of this “re-parenting” process. By nurturing ourselves with adequate rest and nutrition, physical exercise, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual stimulation, as well as learning to let go and just have fun, we can aspire to the balance in life that can bring us joy. Joy is generated from within by being present in the moment, in the state of harmony with yourself and others. When we reach this place of balance, we recognize that after working so hard to regain a solid sense of self that there is transcendent joy in letting go of it!