Picking Leads to Festering

I know this will sound disgusting to you, but it is a true fact: When you have a scrape or a sore or an open wound of some sort, it will heal a lot faster if you do not pick at it. If you do pick at it, it will fester. Picking leads to festering!

Noun: A sore that has become inflamed and formed pus

Verb: Ripen and generate pus.

I know it is sometimes hard to leave those sores and scabs alone. We think, “If I just pick it off then my skin will get back to normal much more quickly.” Well, in fact, the opposite is true. When we pick, it will not only fester, it will take much longer to heal. If we do not take care of it and make sure it is clean, we can also develop an infection, which leads to much more pain and suffering. Our wound will sometimes bleed and the healing process will have to start all over again. Often if we pick over and over, we will develop a nasty scar that will forever be a reminder of our initial injury.

Just as when we pick at a sore on our skin, we can pick at situations in our lives and they too can fester. When we are constantly thinking about and talking about and focusing on the sore in our lives, that sore will grow and not heal or go away. I bet you can think of a situation right now that you love to “pick” at. It is a sore in your life and you can’t seem to leave it alone so it can heal. You continually pick the scab off just when it is about to fall off by itself.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We so badly want to heal from old wounds, yet we continually think about the pain and relive the scenario over and over in our minds and in our words. Sometimes we think it is therapeutic to rehash and talk about old hurts. This is true initially, to get our feelings out and vent. But going back to reopen the wound does no good. So, how do we stop this negative cycle? It may be easier said than done in the beginning, but all it takes is practice! It is just like any habit; we must catch ourselves in the act and immediately change our actions. Like trying to stop biting your fingernails, with consistency, you will prevail. So, we must turn it around. Here is an example:

Old Sore Thought: “My ex-boyfriend is such a jerk! I still can’t believe he left me for her!”
Better Healing Thought: “I am so glad I am not with that cheater anymore!”
Healthiest Healing Thought: “I learned so much from my ex-boyfriend. I am glad I was with him and I am so glad I am now on a better path.”

Take Action: This week and moving forward, let’s notice when we are picking at an old sore and allowing ourselves to fester. Let’s stop ourselves in our tracks and reach for Better and Healthier Healing thoughts. Let’s stop picking at our old wounds and allow our sores to heal with no scars.

Because Together is Better,


  1. Love this, and such important truth to remember! (And not only remember, but keep with us and make happen! πŸ™‚ ) Thank you for the beautiful advice, and empowering words. πŸ™‚

    • I love your sweet feedback, thank you so much Christa! It is so easy to fester and pick at old wounds…this is something I think we all can revisit! -Deanna

  2. I’m having a little trouble with the laptop — my poor little post-surgical dog and his “lampshade” are cuddled up for consolation. Wish I could transmit your thoughts to him ~ but it looks like we’re stuck with the e-collar for another week so he will give himself some time to heal.

    • Andrea, that is such a funny visual! Thank you for the laugh. Maybe humans should wear one of those so we don’t pick and fester! πŸ™‚ -Deanna

  3. Great advice and well written. Thanks.

  4. Dov Shapira says:

    I love Louise Hay, I found her 30 years ago when I was freshly married πŸ™‚

  5. Great post Deanna! The power of positive thinking is so very important and really sets the stage for our life! I love the three examples you give about the ex boyfriend. I would like to use that one as a lesson with the teenage girls in my school:)

    • I love that you will use the boyfriend example with your teenage girls. It is so easy to dwell and fester at that age, when self esteem is so fragile! I am glad you can share it and help those girls. -Deanna

  6. Festering and picking over old wounds is never a good idea, this is great advice. Nice quote by Oprah

  7. Lisa Hodges says:

    Your posts are always so positive and uplifting. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Jim Striegel says:

    Great advice that I will share. The younger generation needs to hear and know this.

    • I agree Jim. There is a certain value in mistakes, if we are open to the lesson and willing to move forward. Thank you for sharing! -Deanna

  9. Marjory Johnson says:

    I have always told my children, don’t live in the past…look toward the future.

  10. Great post! Experience in our life makes us stronger. Leave the past and move on. That’s the reason why we grow up. Thank you for sharing!

  11. we all need to watch out for infections.. even internally

    • John, you said a mouthful here. I think the internal infections are even more harmful. Thank you for allowing me to ponder that one! -Deanna

  12. We all have the power to heal ourselves. It is a God given gift. I have seen where people can’t let go of certain things and I think that these people are really self absorbed. I know it sounds bad saying this but I know a young lady who refuses to let go of her brother’s drug overdose that happened over 8 years ago. In so doing, she is dragging her whole family down and making everyone’s life miserable – she copes by drinking and taking pills….same things that her brother did that ultimately took his life. She, in my opinion is an attention hog. There is a natural process of healing and eventually acceptance of losing someone you love. Now her family ahs to worry that will soon lose her too. Just let go and HEAL!

    • Veronica, that is amazing, that this woman is doing the very same thing that her brother did…so sad. Sometimes we get trapped in our own little emotional bubble and it is hard to see our situation from the outside. I hope she gets help before it is too late. Thank you for sharing your heart! -Deanna

  13. Yes – fantastic advice! festering, obsessing, ruminating – I can do them all really well! But they only lead to unhappiness

    • Jo, I am right there with you on this one. I am very good at it too, and I realize that it only leads to unhappiness. Great point, thank you! -Deanna

  14. Wonderful advice! It’s not healthy to focus on things that can no longer been changed or situations from the past. It’s important to look at the positive side of everything and not let anything fester, like you said!

    • Amanda, letting things fester is the death of many relationships. We cannot change the past, even though we would like to sometimes! πŸ™‚ -Deanna

  15. Great advice. Every experience we go through, good and bad, can help us become better human beings if we can embrace that philosophy of healthy thinking!

  16. Erica (@Erica's Recipes) says:

    Such sage advice! Seems so intuitive when you spell it out, but clearly so many of us need the reminder πŸ™‚ I absolutely love the quote from Oprah – such a strong statement!

    • Thank you Erica. Sometimes we all need a little reminder about things that seem so simple or intuitive as you say! Thank you for being here. -Deanna

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