7 Steps To Understand The Stages Of Emotional Healing

Title image with the copy: "7 Steps to Emotional Healing" with an image of an ipad saying "Emotional Healing Guide"
Jesus, I ask You to break every chain of emotional pain by helping readers to implement these seven steps for emotional healing.

Learn how to understand the stages of emotional healing with these seven steps that outline healthy ways to deal with your emotional pain. There are many benefits to emotional healing and the sooner you face your painful emotions the quicker you will experience inner peace. Remember that there is hope no matter where you find yourself within these stages.

Jesus Came To Heal The Brokenhearted

Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. Let’s look at what Jesus says in Luke 4 verses 18 and 21 about healing your emotions.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;… [21] And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 

Luke 4:18,21 – NKJV

Jesus not only said that He came to heal the brokenhearted. He also said he would proclaim liberty to the captives (those who have been taken captive by emotional wounds). He said He would recover sight to the blind meaning He’s going to give you new insight on how to heal your emotional pain. And, He said that He would set at liberty all those who are oppressed. Oppressed people by definition have been prevented from having the same opportunities (liberties) as others due to unfortunate circumstances but Jesus has set them into freedom from their specific oppression. 

The Scripture Has Been Fulfilled By Jesus

Jesus says in Luke 4:21 that the day He walked the earth and spoke this scripture it was fulfilled. That was over 2000 years ago! Your emotional healing is already done!! It’s yours for the taking. 

Pray and ask Jesus to show you the way. Remember that there are stages of healing and while it may not happen overnight, the first step is to start. Open your heart to the truth that Jesus already fulfilled the healing of the brokenhearted, the healing of the captives, and the healing of the oppressed. 

When Jesus said He recovered sight to the blind He was saying that He would give you sight into your emotional wounds. This “sight” is His wisdom for the blind areas of your heart to receive complete healing from emotional pain. Imagine the day when you live without one minute of anxiety or depression. This is your destiny. Let’s dive into how you can get there with these seven steps. 

Table of Contents

7 Steps To Understand The Stages Of Emotional Healing  

The following seven steps will help you to understand the stages of emotional healing and why they are important to your personal growth. I want to encourage you to read each step with an open mind and let your heart receive healing. 

My prayer is that as you read this article you will be touched by the Holy Spirit, feel His peace to receive truth, and let Jesus speak to your heart and heal your emotions.

Step #1 Practice Acceptance And Forgiveness 

Accepting your life as it is and forgiving others is the first step to emotional healing. This is such an important part of the healing process because acceptance gets us past the lies of denial and forgiveness opens the floodgates for emotional healing.

Acceptance

Stop looking at your life from the perspective of what could have been or what will be and accept where you are today. This quote was given to me when I was in a tough place in my life and it resonated in my heart. I hope it will encourage you too.

Here’s the quote: “You can’t chase happiness. You have to find it where you are.”

As I meditated on this quote, I let the words sink into my heart. Instead of solving every problem I decided to just accept each one. I let myself feel the uncomfortable feeling that I could not fix these problems alone. I knew I had to trust Jesus with each one because He was the only One who could truly fix my life. As I did this act of surrender, hope began to arise in my heart. 

I realized that trying to control everything and staying in the denial stage was not serving me well as it was stopping me from getting to my next stage of healing. I decided to intentionally enjoy my life right where I was with all of my problems. Acceptance is a huge part of your emotional healing journey because it sets you free from having to fix the problem yourself. You only have to accept the problem(s) and you can trust Jesus to fix it.

Forgiveness

Another key aspect of the emotional healing process is forgiveness. Unforgiveness hurts you and not the other way around. Your abuser or offender is out living their life while you are bound up in the pain of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness can fuel feelings of depression, feelings of sadness, and it makes you relive the hurtful situation over and over again every time you think about it. It’s terrible!

Remember that unforgiveness is like you are drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. But, you are the one being poisoned not your offender. You can read more about practical ways to forgive here. Forgiveness is vital for you to access the next stages of emotional healing. Without forgiveness, you are dead in the water because Jesus says, 

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-16, NKJV

If you find yourself unable to accept your situation or if you find that you are not yet in a place to forgive those who have hurt you deeply, I highly recommend seeking professional help to gain a different perspective. Seeing a mental health professional is one of the healthy ways you can deal with your emotional pain. In my personal experience, having seen my therapist on and off since 2008, going to a licensed therapist has been a lifesaver. Seeking professional support during my emotional healing process helped me get my life back on track. 

Step #2 Remove Self-Pity And Resentment 

Self-pity is a trap and it’s one of those negative feelings that can feel incredibly overwhelming. When we are deceived into playing the victim and drowning in deep sadness, we hinder ourselves from acting as a powerful person.

Self-Pity

Self-pity is when you spend your days in a state of feeling sorry for yourself. I know this stage of the emotional healing process all too well because one of my biggest challenges was to overcome my emotional responses to self-pity. I believed the lies of self-pity and self-sabotage for years and it was wreaking havoc on my life. 

If this is something you struggle with be encouraged that there is a simple way out. All you have to do is take responsibility for your life, forgive others who have hurt you, forgive yourself, and decide to be a powerful person no matter what.

Make a decision today to stop blaming others, even if they were wrong, and start forgiving them. Self-pity traps you in an endless cycle of powerlessness while the people who have hurt you are moving on with their lives. It is the wrong way to approach past traumas in that it creates emotional blockages instead of emotional freedom. 

Self-pity also fuels self-sabotage which is a vicious cycle obstructing your path with overwhelming emotions that hinder your personal growth. Self-sabotage is rooted in self-hatred. If you find yourself on this path your answer is to forgive yourself. Just as we are directed by Jesus to forgive others (Matthew 6:14-16) we have to also forgive ourselves. Your entire life is on the other side of this!

I’m not saying that past traumas do not deserve the appropriate emotional reactions because we do need to go through the grieving process and honor these places in our hearts. However, choosing to renounce self-pity and forgive ourselves is one of the vital stages of healing that catapults you into your destiny.

By doing this you are in full acceptance of your life, you are taking responsibility for your actions, and you are setting yourself up for living the rest of your days in emotional well-being. 

Resentment

Resentment is another ploy the enemy uses to keep you bound in your emotional pain. For some, resentment is a defense mechanism that soothes intense emotions by making you feel right and reinforcing the other person’s discretion, but again it is deception. 

Once you forgive someone don’t take the bait of staying bitter when you are reminded of that person. Every time you think of the person you forgave, imagine yourself forgiving them again and putting them back in Jesus’ hands for Him to deal with them.

Here are the ways to release self-pity and resentment:

  • Release those who have hurt you and forgive each one of them
  • Renounce self-pity and refuse to feel sorry for yourself
  • Relinquish (completely stop) self-sabotage and forgive yourself

Step #3 Admit To Unworthiness And Feeling Guilty  

Get real with yourself and your emotions to uncover your true beliefs about yourself. Ask Jesus to show you any unhealthy areas of your life. If you discover that you believe you are unworthy or have feelings of guilt in some areas of your life, then deal with these negative feelings by giving these areas your undivided attention.

Write down why you feel unworthy or guilty in these areas of your life. Ask yourself if the unworthiness or guilt is valid and why or why not.

From there you can uncover the truth about the situation and its root causes then you can let yourself off the hook. I will tell you this, in 99 percent of these situations your thinking is skewed and you are believing a lie. Ask a trusted friend who you know will give you godly wisdom or a counselor and then pray and ask Jesus for His truth on the situation.

Jesus did not die on the cross for you to go around feeling unworthy or guilty every day. You can learn more about how negative thinking (connected to unworthiness and feeling guilty) affects your emotions in my blog post, “Unlocking Healing: Exploring the Connection Between Your Thought Life and Emotional Pain in 4 Easy Steps.”

Step #4 Articulate Your Grief And Despair

Honor yourself by creating space for your grief and despair with journaling. Write down your negative feelings and ask yourself where these feelings originated (Example: My parents, My childhood, At school growing up, etc.). You can only release these emotions if you first recognize each feeling and then accept that they are areas of pain. Your goal in this part of the emotional healing process is to uncover the root causes of your emotional wounds. 

From there, I want to encourage you to write out each specific emotion you feel (anger, unworthiness, sadness, disgust, etc.). Then, ask Jesus to show you when and where these emotions started. He will probably recall a childhood memory to you or lead you to something that reminds you of what happened to start these negative feelings. You may be surprised by what you remember. Often our negative emotions are rooted in childhood experiences.

Dealing with your childhood pain and the belief system that you developed when you were young will open your heart to be able to deal with the significant loss you experienced. Stay in the present moment and let yourself feel the emotional pain. As you honor the places in your heart that are feeling grief or despair, let yourself feel then release these emotions and accept Jesus’ healing. 

Imagine yourself sitting next to Jesus and asking Him what He has to say about your memory or situation. Write down what you experience with Jesus after you ask Him the hard questions. He may speak to you or lead you to a scripture.

If at first you do not receive an answer then sit in the question. Keep presenting your questions before the Lord and humbly wait for a response. He will answer. Spending time journaling and honoring your emotions creates a safe space for you to express yourself and heal. 

Step #5 Lay Down Anger Towards Yourself And Others 

Anger has been described to me by my therapist as a secondary emotion. If you are angry with someone you are probably being triggered. The root cause of the anger is a primary emotion like fear, sadness, or rejection. To uncover your primary emotion lay down your anger and ask yourself, what about this situation is invoking fear, sadness, or rejection in my heart? The answer to that question is your key to getting to the other side.

You can trust God with every place in your heart, even those places that feel overwhelming or extremely negative. Jesus was there when your pain occurred and, because He is not bound by time, He can go back with you in the memory to heal the pain. You can learn even more about the healing process here

Step #6 Journal Your Thoughts And Invite Jesus In 

Journaling is one of the most effective techniques for reducing anxiety and ushering in emotional healing. The most life-changing thing I ever did was to invite Jesus into my journaling. I learned this technique from Mark Virkler in his teaching on how to hear God’s voice. You can check out Mark Virkler’s free resources here.

As you journal with Jesus, you will open yourself up to God’s promises of healing and abundant life which creates an atmosphere for you to dream again. Journaling is a great way to meditate on His promises and how they apply to your life. Let your heart think about your future and all of the wonderful possibilities that are open to you. As you dream again, you’ll find that your goals are not as far away as they may have seemed.

I have published an emotional wellness journal and a mindset journal as tools to help my readers journal and articulate their emotions to heal. The tools in these journals are exactly what I used to overcome negative thinking and pursue emotional well-being. You can purchase the journals on Amazon here.

Rayna Piazza

With over 15 years of emotional healing ministry experience, Rayna Piazza blogs about emotional wellness and personal growth for Christian women. Rayna believes that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in her (Romans 8:11) and that you too can experience His power if only you believe. Her ministry experience includes completing Bethel Sozo ministry training including Basic Sozo Training and Advanced Sozo Training; ministering weekly to at-risk teens in foster care (2008-2012); leading emotional healing ministry groups for women (2013-2020); part of the mission trip ministry team at Prophetic School in Brazil (2013); leading Covington, LA HVM Prayer Hub (2023-2024) and assisting in pastoral care counseling as the support person for over 10 years. She has also created personal growth journals to assist her readers in journaling their way to emotional healing. Take a journey with Rayna to explore the ins and outs of emotional healing, learn your purpose, and walk in your God-given destiny. The Seeking Him Today blog is named in the Top 100 Best Christian Women Blogs and Websites by Feedspot.

Step #7 Stop The Cycle of Emotional Pain 

Finally, you can stop the cycle of emotional pain not only in your life but in your children’s lives. Specific emotional pain can be passed down from generation to generation in your family line just like diseases are passed down. For example, if you can look back in your generations and see that one of your grandparents dealt with anxiety, and your parent dealt with anxiety, and now you are experiencing anxiety then you can see that anxiety has been passed down through your generations.

I want to encourage you to be a pioneer for your family and pray to ask Jesus to heal the emotional wounds in your family line. As you face your emotional pain ask Jesus to heal your heart first then your family. He will then heal you AND your generations but it has to start with you. Someone has to take a stand for righteousness and truth. Never forget that God is a generational God. He sees the end from the beginning and His heart is always for redemption.

13 Yet, Christ paid the full price to set us free from the curse of the law. He absorbed the curse completely as he became a curse in our place. For it is written: “Everyone who is hung upon a tree is cursed.” 14 Jesus Christ dissolved the curse from our lives, so that in him all the blessings of Abraham can be poured out upon gentiles. And now through faith we receive the promised Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Galatians 3:13-14, TPT

As you pray, plead the blood of Jesus over you and your generational line, then ask Jesus to remove the specific generational curses that He shows you from you and your family members. As you do this you will pioneer a new beginning for yourself and your future generations. This new pathway opens up the opportunity for you and your generations to fulfill your God-given destiny.

You’re a God who makes things right, giving justice to the defenseless.

Psalm 103:6, The Passion Translation

Pay It Forward

The most significant benefits of healing from emotional wounds are an increase of hope in your heart and the desire to start to dream again. Implementing a healthy coping mechanism for each of your past experiences of emotional pain is a crucial step in your healing. Your emotional health is such an important factor in overall health. I want to encourage you to continue to prioritize your emotional health with prayer, journaling, and continually seeking out healthy coping mechanisms. 

It’s time to start enjoying your life and living in abundance. After all, you have a God-given destiny to fulfill!!

Emotional healing will also help to reduce anxiety (and eventually eliminate it!) so that you can get to the root of the problem and learn to trust Jesus in every area of your life.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I [Jesus] came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].

John 10:10, The Amplified Bible

Share Your Story

As you get set free and receive healing from Jesus push yourself to share your story with others and pay it forward. You never know who can relate to what you have been through and who will benefit from hearing your story. But, most importantly, your story matters.

Jesus came for you to enjoy your life and for you to live in abundance. That abundance expands to others’ lives too when you pay it forward. Share your experience of healing and watch Jesus heal again and again.

Did this blog post speak to your heart? I hope so! Sign up today to receive my emails featuring the latest from Seeking Him Today by going to our Stay In Touch page.