What is it?
Unfinished Business is kind of self-explanatory but when I Google it the Merrian-Webster defines it as…” something that a person needs to deal with or work on something that has not yet been done, dealt with or completed”.
In this article, I’ll be referring to psychological or spiritual unfinished business as opposed to …finishing putting the dishes away or finishing writing a report.
We can identify psychological unfinished business when we still have negative, painful, distressing, conflicted or angry energy around something that has passed and in some way feels unresolved for us.
Why is it important?
Recognising where we have unfinished business in our lives is important because until we can work through it we carry that energy with us and it can play out unconsciously with others, which can lead to our unhappiness and ultimately lead to physical health issues.
How to recognise it?
To recognise areas of your unfinished business tune into things that have happened already, It might be yesterday or decades ago, where you still have a lot of emotional energy when you think about that situation. You might feel it strongly in your body like heat or tension in particular parts or even nausea. You might find yourself ruminating about it way after the event, like a stuck record playing over and over. When you think about the situation there will be a strong emotion that arises (this may include numbness). You might feel this physically like a punch in the gut, tightness in the chest, squeezing of your head, tightening of muscles- often the hands, shoulders or jaw, the story is being held in your body, it might feel like you are back there reliving the experience.
What to do?
Addressing unfinished business can be done in a variety of ways. Sometimes if we have unfinished business with another person we can seek out reconciliation but this may not always be available; the person is dead or no longer in our lives or doesn’t want to be contacted. If this is the case we can use techniques such as writing that person a letter of reconciliation that if they are available you could give to them but if not you could use the power of ritual such as burning the letter and releasing the stuck business.
Forgiveness of others and ourselves is incredibly important in working with unfinished business and coming at it with no judgement. One thing that always helps me to find a place of forgiveness is my mantra:
“Everyone is doing the Best they can with what they have at the time”
Even if they or I have done something really shit that seems unforgivable I acknowledge that people don’t behave that way for no reason. I might not understand why but I know that when people have their own unfinished business they can act out of this space and create harm without realising. For example: Jill had a difficult relationship with her mom where she didn’t feel appreciated so when Jill is given feedback from her boss about a small part of a job that could have been done better she can’t handle what she experiences as criticism and explodes calling her boss an unappreciative arsehole and storming out. Later Jill feels awful about this and goes over and over and over the interaction in her head. Jill has the opportunity to communicate with her boss, forgive herself and also work, through the use of ritual, on her unfinished business with her deceased mother.
Jill’s boss is also involved in her side of the story, she feels attacked because in some way she has been attacking herself, not feeling good enough, not feeling empowered in her role. At school, she was told that she was no good and would never amount to anything which now plays out in her self-doubt and self-criticism and often feels attacked by others. Working with forgiving herself, exploring how she attacks herself and forgiving others who have attacked her including Jill will help create healing.
Once we own, take responsibility for and heal our unfinished business all areas of our life can be different. We can finally grow as we move from the shadow of what has been holding us back.
Journey-work can be a helpful tool to access situations or people to work on unfinished business and different cleansing rituals using water or fire can help with clearing unresolved stuck energy.
Benefits of clearing unfinished business.
By clearing up your unfinished business you will have a great sense of relief and more freedom in your life to choose how you react and respond to current situations. Your health and well-being may improve and you might find you have more energy for the things you love in life because energy is no longer going toward maintaining the story where it is stuck in the past. You will be more present.
You will feel more powerful and in control of your life and you will be reducing the stress that unfinished business has on your mind, body, soul and those around you…particularly children.
Unfinished business is like living in a really messy house. It takes some work to clean it up but when you spend the energy doing it you are no longer wasting energy thinking about how messy it is, how crap you are for not doing it, things flow more easily and it creates an energetic space that’s lovely to be in rather than stressful or potentially hazardous.
If you have unfinished business that you would like support addressing Gaby at My Way Therapy can help. Contact us today to see what we can offer. Unfortunately, you can’t get a cleaner in for this one, the work needs to be done by you but great support for your inner spring-clean is available now.