Imagine someone coming away from a serious car crash with a major leg injury. While the crash only lasted a few seconds, the effects of the injury are long lasting. Months of rehabilitative work will be needed as the leg heals, to bring it back to its original condition.
Getting back to full functionality takes time.
Getting back to a place of full functionality after a physical injury takes time, effort, and support; we have no problem accepting this. Yet when it comes to emotional injuries, we often expect much more of ourselves. We can be incredibly hard on ourselves, thinking we should be able to recover quickly and easily, all on our own.
Or, perhaps you open up and share with someone in hopes of receiving support and empathy, but instead you're told you should "just get over it" and move on. You're left feeling dismissed and diminished as a result.
Emotional injuries are as real as physical injuries.
Emotional injuries are just as real as any physical injury we might experience, that's why attempting to "just get over it" just doesn't work. The damage inflicted can be severe and far-reaching, the impact reaching across multiple areas of your life.
Your self-esteem and sense of self-worth, your ability to navigate relationships, and your decision-making can all be compromised when your emotional state is debilitated and not operating with full functionality. And just as with a physical injury, it's to be expected that healing and recovery will take time, work, and support, likely with challenges and setbacks along the way.
"Just Get Over It" Leads to Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
One of the dangers with the "just get over it" attitude, whether it's self-directed or coming from someone else, is that you may actually try to do it. That is, you make a genuine effort to simply push your emotional problems aside, and you stop acknowledging what's really there and what's really going on.
But that doesn't mean the problems have gone away or been resolved. On the contrary, you can wind up compounding your issues by resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Coping mechanisms are the mental strategies we adopt to avoid unpleasant thoughts and emotions, such as denial, repression, and rationalization. Left unchecked, these strategies can become extremely unhealthy. Over time, continued reliance on them can lead to a skewed view of reality.
How Do You Heal Emotional Injuries?
How exactly do you go about addressing and healing emotional injuries? In part, it depends on the nature of the problem. It also depends on the person and their comfort level with various approaches.
Individual psychotherapy, group therapy, and cognitive behavioural therapy all have their strengths, and many people benefit from these approaches. Sharing with someone you trust who offers empathy and validation can help, by giving you a secure space where you can express yourself without holding back or self-censoring. If you're at a place where you feel emotionally stable and ready to move forward, coaching can help you map out your next steps, and support you in taking those steps.
For those who feel equipped to tackle things on their own, books and courses that you work through at your own pace can be effective. Many people benefit from the practice of journal writing, which allows for the uncensored exploration of thoughts, feelings, and events. Journal writing provides an opportunity to revisit and reframe past difficulties in a controlled, emotionally safe manner. Not only do you get things out of your head and onto paper, you're also able to gain insight and new perspectives.
However you choose to address your emotional injuries, the key takeaway is this: don't bully yourself (or allow anyone else to bully you) into thinking that your issues are trivial or irrelevant and that you should "just get over them" in the blink of an eye.
Life is complex, people are complex, and the issues we face are often complex as well. Is healing possible? Absolutely. The human spirit is a wonder, and people recover from the most extreme and traumatic of circumstances. But dismissive comments like "just get over it" are not the solution. Healing is a process that takes time, work, and the right support.
Tips for achieving optimal wellness, inside and out.