Inner Healing Work: What Is It + Why People Fear It
If you spend time with me, you’ll most likely hear me talk about doing your “inner healing work”. But many people don’t really understand what it means to do inner work. Sure, they know about therapists and may even hear how beneficial counseling is. However, not that many people actually go to therapy for one reason or another.
Inner healing work is essential if you’re journeying on the spiritual path; if you’re wanting to grow spiritually, evolve, expand – whatever you want to call it.
Inner healing work is essential to show up on the planet emotionally healed and whole, which can make a big difference in your life, as well as others.
If you’re wanting to live a life that’s defined by a feeling of purpose and meaning, I think it’s necessary to journey inside and “do the work”. What kind of work?
The kind that discovers pain you’ve tucked away in your subconscious mind, the pain that lurks in your shadows – and transforming that pain into purpose.
I mean, how awesome would that be if you could heal what needs healed and step into your authentic, powerful, happy, and loving self? Where you’re not walking around with a ten-foot brick wall around your heart for fear of being hurt, but rather, showing up with an open (and healed) heart that gladly gives and receives unconditional, radical love?
Let’s face it. The world could use more of that, right?
Now, though that sounds wonderful, the thing is, inner healing work isn’t all that easy or glamorous. Closing your eyes and going inside to face what’s lurking deep down scares the bejeebies out of many people. Inner exploration takes time, energy, courage, and a commitment to being like a sleuth looking for old wounds that may include trauma, neglect, abuse, and more.
Why look for those wounds? Why seek those parts of yourself that you split from because at the time, you didn’t know how to deal with the pain or stuffed it?
Because when you can locate the original print from your wounds, you expose it. You shine the light of consciousness on it, and just like when you walk into a pitch-black room and turn the light switch on, the light expels the darkness!
Consciousness dispels your inner darkness, demons, shadows, or whatever you want to call it!
Listen friends, if you seriously want to live a life from your spiritual nature rather than your selfish, carnal nature that gets you into some serious negative emotions, then make a commitment to some inner exploration.
Do the inner healing work.
Now, before I go on, here are a few basics:
What Is Inner Healing Work?
Inner healing work is essentially diving deep into your psychological self – your psyche – for the purpose of exploring what’s there. For the purpose of healing what pain might be stored there. For the purpose of understanding and experiencing transformation at a deeper level.
It’s a practice. An act. In other words, it’s a verb. You actually have to take the time to “do” it.
But you see, when we do our inner work, we’re saying “yes” to living an authentic life where we aren’t going to have to wear masks all the time. We won’t have to go around pretending to be happy, (especially on social media), and then going home sulking in loneliness, boredom, and despair.
When we do our inner work, we shine the light of Divine Intelligence or Spirit on the subconscious or unconscious layers of the psyche. And this, my friends is pivotal for experiencing positive change.
So, when you turn inward; when you slow your thoughts and focus beyond them, you’ll discover all sorts of thoughts, beliefs, memories, and/or wounds that have been hidden. The pain of Mom and Dad’s divorce that you didn’t know how to process when you were a child. The pain of your own divorce. The pain of losing a loved one. Your fears. Your faulty belief patterns – by identifying these, you’ll be able to work THROUGH them…transform them… and all that pent-up energy that’s been causing your mental/emotional/spiritual blocks, can be integrated so that you feel more healed…whole.
And when you can move past these wounds, you will feel less depressed, anxious, lonely, scared…you’ll feel more peace, love, joy, excitement, and passionate about life.
How Do I Know If I Should Do Inner Healing Work?
Not sure if you should do some inner healing work? Check out the following alarm signals:
- You’ve lost sight of who you are
- You’re quite lonely; you feel alone in the world
- You feel confused and lost
- You tend to think negatively
- You can’t shut down your mind to sleep at night
- You struggle with people pleasing and over-giving
- Your self-esteem is low
- You have chronic fatigue or health issues
- You have anxiety
- You and your partner fight a lot
- You drink/drug, especially to cope
- You feel hopeless
- You feel empty
- You feel very depressed
- You are insecure, jealous
- You keep ending up with partners who abuse you
- You have no friends
- You have an addiction running in your life (alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, etc.)
- You sabotage your relationships
- You find it challenging to handle your emotions
- People tell you you’re neurotic
- You isolate from others; live in your own world
- You are controlling
- You cry, a lot
- You blow up at others
These are some signs that you may want to do some inner exploration. Did you relate to some?
The good news is that there are inner healing paths that you can check out to see what might resonate with you. I do want to mention that some of the red flags above may indicate that there is a mental health disorder showing up in your life, and this may require help from a mental health professional (therapist).
If you suspect this, please find a good therapist and do some exploring there. You can indeed do some inner work healing on your own. In fact, you should do inner healing work as a practice. At the same time, you may benefit from help from a trained mental health professional. I know many will shy away from that because it might cost them money. I say go ahead and make that investment in yourself, as the payoff will be life changing (more so than the pair of jeans you’ll pay $80 bucks for). Invest in your inner spiritual richness!
Why Do Some People Fear Doing Inner Work?
I’ve seen people’s eyes gloss over when I suggested to them that they should think about revisiting their past to maybe see if there are things that need to be healed. They automatically go into panic mode. They’re thinking, “Oh, wow. I can’t honestly look at my past. I’d be horrified. It’ll hurt so much.” Or, they’re simply afraid of the unknown. In fact, some are terrified.
We are a society that really glamorizes the outer things. Most people take pride in what they’ve learned about their careers, hobbies, traveling, etc. But when you ask them about their inner life? When you ask them how their brain works? What their spirit is like? What enemies they struggle with inside?
They look like a deer in headlights. They just don’t know.
I love Carl Jung. He said, “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.”
The truth is that jumping off the ledge into the deep ocean of “self” can be scary. We’d rather project the sea creatures that are swimming in our depths onto others, individually and collectively. Just observe those who carry a victim mentality, always blaming others or their past for their current pain and suffering. Rather than getting down and dirty with themselves doing “the inner healing work”, or taking full responsibility for their life, they’ll blame, project, lash out, sulk, complain, and so on.
But you see, diving deep into your inner ocean gives you the opportunity to start dealing with your ego/shadow/wounds. You want to experience true freedom, peace, and joy? Then jump off that ledge. That ego you’ll start swimming in isn’t as scary as you think it is. In fact, some argue that it’s NOT EVEN REAL. It’s the false persona that you’ve created throughout your life.
So how can something that isn’t even real petrify you? Keep you from doing the work?
The ego might seem like it’s all powerful, but it’s really a fragile construct that thrives when it feels all powerful and in control. But you don’t have to let it be in control.
The Power Of Inner Work
Doing your inner healing work isn’t going to be easy-breezy. You’re not going to be posting updates on social media about how well it’s going. In fact, inner healing work can be a process that is heart-rending, agonizing, and scary. This is why some of the mystics call it the “dark night of the soul”. It feels dark. It feels like you’re alone and disconnected from everyone and everything – and you wonder when you’re going to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Inner healing work is what Jesus called surrendering your will for his. Laying your life upon the altar and allowing the fires of the Spirit to burn everything in you that is not of God. It’s willingly allowing yourself to be wrecked. To be gutted layer after layer so you essentially can die to your “self-ish” ways, and then be reborn as your authentic self. Your beautiful, already-healed spiritual self!
And, this is an ongoing process. I mean, it can become less daunting over time, but when it comes to growing spiritually, I don’t think we ever really “arrive” while we’re on this planet. We grow. We evolve. We expand. We become more love, more light, but to fully transcend? Very few do.
Refuse To Be Lukewarm or Mediocre
It’s easier to live life mediocre or lukewarm. It’s easier to fall in line with the herd. It’s easier to be the cog in a wheel, assuming this is all there is. Assuming that life sucks and you just deal with it.
No. Refuse to believe this. Walking the spiritual path might be “work”, but come on: It’s worth it. How are you enjoying a life without meaning or purpose? Walking around in pain? Feeling as if life has dealt you a bad hand? That’s not fun at all!
So, do the inner healing work. Figure it out. Stop pointing fingers at others, at the government, at your parents, partner, the institutes, etc. Refuse to believe that “this is all there is”. Refuse to let your existential angst swallow you up.
Rather, right now honor yourself by making a commitment to do whatever it takes to heal what needs healed INSIDE. Commit to getting off the hamster wheel and become more of a free spirit that is led by your intuition. Your inner knowing.
How? That’s a great question, as there are various paths that can lead you there. Your task is to discover yours.
I do want to say that doing your inner healing work doesn’t have to be as treacherous as some make it out to be. It isn’t considered fun, but it can evoke a sense of excitement in you. A feeling that you’re doing something that “really” matters in your life. Something that will affect you the rest of your life, and quite possible many others!
Inner Healing Work Paths
There are a variety of inner healing paths you can consider.
Your path will be uniquely yours. What someone else is doing might work for them, but it might not be your path. Please resist the urge to judge others for their path. Let them be them and walk their path, and you walk yours without judging yourself or the path. Allow yourself to intuitively discover your path.
I am only sharing a few inner healing work paths; one’s that I have found valuable and others have too. By all means if these don’t resonate with you, keep seeking till you find your path.
1. Inner Child Healing Work
In psychology circles, you’ll hear a lot of talk about healing the inner wounded child. We all grow up as innocent children that pick up some wounds, fears, beliefs, etc. along the journey. As a child, we don’t always know how to process pain. We end up stuffing feelings, disconnecting, feeling confused, and more. But that pain doesn’t just go away. It accumulates. It gets lodged deep in the psyche, so one way of doing the inner healing work is to do inner “child” healing work. To go back and revisit childhood to identify pain or wounds and process and integrate them. In other words, heal them!
Remember back when you were a child full of playful energy? Joy? Creativity? Imagination? Love? Over time, you may have lost sight of those qualities. Most adults end up neglecting or abandoning their inner child, stifling their wonder, curiosity, playfulness, and innocence.
It’s time to get these back! Going back to do some inner child healing work can help you with this. Your inner child may be afraid, angry, confused, insecure, etc. and desires you as an adult to connect with him/her. Re-parent so-to-speak, from a healed and whole adult.
It wasn’t until I was about 35 when I discovered that my childhood wasn’t as great as I always thought it was. It was then that I got started therapy and an inner healing journey, and got busy doing inner child healing. It was tough to go back and visit my childhood; to acknowledge that my home life wasn’t ideal. That my mom suffered with depression and my dad, alcoholism. That they weren’t emotionally there for me like I needed. It wasn’t easy, but necessary.
Tapping into the resources of John Bradshaw helped me tremendously. Google him and read his books. Watch his videos. Very powerful stuff. Here’s a wonderful guided mediation that might help you too: Inner Child Healing Guided Meditation
Most likely, there’s an unconscious part of yourself that is affecting your emotional and behavioral life in a negative way. This unconscious part began forming in childhood, and a good therapist will help you dig and discover it, so that you can begin to change it at that level.
Growing up in age doesn’t mean you’re automatically growing up emotionally or psychologically. This is why doing the inner healing work is necessary! So, you can grow on all levels and experience life in a more relaxed, blissful way.
Find a great psychotherapist who can journey you back to your childhood and help you discover where you’ve been holding onto wounds. You don’t want to be a four-year-old trapped in your adult body, trying to live life with your wounded child calling the shots.
Therapy can be helpful. Do make sure your therapist will journey you back to do some digging. And, if you don’t resonate with one therapist, try another. Find one that you feel you can connect with, be yourself with, and that will be able to hold space for you and – and challenge you if necessary. But overall, help you become more healed and whole.
3. Shamanic Journeying
Shamanism is an ancient spiritual practice or way of life and, it’s quite powerful. You can use shamanistic tools and rituals to do your inner healing work individually or with a modern-day shaman. There’s a ton of information you can find online regarding healing your wounds based upon shamanic principles.
A wonderful online six-week course by well-known shaman, Sandra Ingerman, will help you learn where specific prints were made in your life regarding trauma, faulty thought patterns, and more. She’s also got lots of great information on her website, and has written excellent books that can help you out.
Lastly, consider committing to a daily practice of mindfulness, meditation, prayer, journaling, and dream analysis. These can all help you along your inner healing work journey.
Begin where you feel comfortable with. Like I said, what works for one might not work for another. If you’ve tried one path, try another. Or, try what you’ve done already, but at a deeper level. You’re not the same person you were a year ago, so your work may peel back even more layers now.
In the end, these various inner healing paths are contending with the same thing: inner wounds or pain that is wanting to be recognized and integrated into your energy body. We came here spirit housed in a body. We also have a mind. Mind, body, spirit. Don’t neglect your spiritual state, while allowing your mind to keep you stuck living life swimming in a sea of pain. By embarking on an INNER, spiritual journey, you’ll be more apt to discover what’s been tripping you up, deal with it, heal it, and experience more freedom and joy.
It’ll take time and effort, so make a commitment to begin and keep at it. Reach out for help if you need. I assure you that you can make changes in your life, internally and externally.
I truly hope this article has helped you gain insight and clarity as you move forward on your spiritual journey.
Feel free to comment and let me know what kind of inner work you’ve done or what you’re currently doing.