When someone is significantly injured by either repetitive smaller offenses, a single gigantic offense, or repetitive gigantic offense, the left and the right sides of our brain can become “offline” from each. We stew in our hurt. We ruminate in our anguish. We repeat the story of what happened or what continues to happen, and we get on a mental loop. Sometimes it feels like “if I just tell the story one more time I’ll find some new revelation to fix, repair, restore, or stop the damage”. “If I just said it enough time, the person will realize how they have hurt me and fix it, repent, become sorrowful”. Or, “if I say it enough times I’ll suddenly find the answer to feeling better”.
This is the point when people usually find themselves in my office, or a colleague’s office. I have some bad news. I do not have a magic wand! Wouldn’t that be lovely though? My colleagues don’t have a magic wand either. Sorry to disappoint.
The good news is that I have an activity that typically helps individuals break the looping behaviors they find themselves experiencing.
Draw a heart, preferably on a red piece of paper, and cut it out.
Write all the things that were in your heart before you were injured on your paper heart.
Tear up your paper heart.
Put your heart back together with band-aids.
Write what you need to put your heart back together on the band-aids.
- Does your heart look the same as it did when you first drew it? How about as it did when you wrote on it, before tearing it up?
- Does your heart work the same as it did in the beginning of the project?
- What happens when you have surgery? What is an important aspect in the healing process post-surgery? (think about scar tissue and it’s role in future pain)
- Did you give up before you put your heart back together? Is that how you typically handle your relational heart in your day-to-day life?