Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reinterpret Past Events

There is a story about a boy who reached for a hot iron and his mom yelled at him to stop which he interpreted as "mom doesn't love me" which couldn't be further from the truth as she loved him and didn't want him to get hurt. 

How we interpret things that happen to us greatly affects our lives.  I have many situations in my life that as I now look at them logically I realize that they really weren't what my child mind was convinced that it meant.  But knowing this logically didn't immediately change my emotions and relieve those past hurts.  I have had to work hard at reinterpreting past events to help me heal emotionally from them.

The book Healing the Eight Stages of Life by Matthew Linn, Sheila Fabricant, and Dennis Linn that my therapist loaned to me had a lot of great things in it that helped me with this process.  I particularly like this quote:

Imagination is our "inner eye," a faculty of our intuitive mind, through which we perceive the emotional and spiritual world, a world just as real as the material one we perceive with our five senses.  Jesus uses the inner eye of imagination to help us "see" with him events that have left emotional and spiritual scars, and to help us reinterpret those events in the light of his love.

Having support (like a therapist, family, friends, faith) can help work through those old interpretations.  So, for example, the boy trying to touch the hot iron could realize that his mother was just trying to protect him.  When he would think that his mother doesn't love him, he could say to himself, "no, that is the old way of thinking, I know now that she loves me and was trying to protect me."

I have used this process a lot, thinking of a past event, understanding it logically as an adult then reinterpreting that event and then remind myself of the real truth of the situation, not what I perceived it to be.  Every time the old hurt emotions would rise up, I tell myself, "no, that is the old way of thinking, I now know the truth is . . . ," whatever that truth may be.

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