I’d like to spend a little time reflecting on the healing process: what it is and is not.
Let’s start with what it is not. Healing is not linear.
There is not a prescribed route to follow or a formula to expedite it. Healing cannot be rushed or adhere to another’s timeline. There is no one way to do it. While there may be some similarities among healing processes, each person’s journey is unique.
So, what is healing?
Healing is recovering from a hurt (physical, emotional, mental or spiritual) which acknowledges the source of the pain without getting stuck in it.
Healing changes us.
We will never be the same person as we were before the hurt. Just like glass, we are tempered by the exposure to heat, which is to say, we are made stronger by the experience of pain. It is not that we are less than what we were, rather we are more.
Healing teaches us.
We learn more about ourselves, about our relationships and about our world. Healing shows us who we can trust and reminds us that the person we need to trust most is our self. There is no substitute for our inner knowing. Healing requires that we pay attention to the wisdom that lies within.
Healing also makes us kinder, more compassionate people.
Because of our experience, we have newfound empathy for others. Healing makes it harder for us to judge and helps us imagine another person’s suffering. Allowing ourselves to consider the other person’s journey gives other people permission to do the same for us.
Healing creates true reciprocity.
While it is true that each person has their own unique path to healing, we are not meant to heal in isolation. Finding people and communities to support you during your healing process is tremendously beneficial provided they are people and communities who understand and appreciate what healing is and what it is not.
If you ever feel that your feelings are discounted, your process is being rushed or your values are being compromised, then you may be in interacting with someone who is not able to support you.
On the other hand, if you feel held, validated and understood, then you are most likely among people who can support your healing without becoming co-conspirators in your shame, blame or victimhood. (All possible outcomes of getting stuck in your recovery process.)
I wish all who read this article much healing. I acknowledge all the healing you have already done and I support any future healing you do.
May each one of us survive what hurts and thrive because of it.
P.S. If you need any support through your healing journey, please know I provide counseling and am happy to schedule a phone interview to see if we are a good fit (or to make a referral).