What I Know About Healing + Other Reflections


Alert. Alert everybody. If you didn't know this already - I am incredibly embarrassing. I say the dumbest things, all the time. And I'm clumsy, too (even while I type this there's spots of tea stains all over my shirt from this morning that I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE TILL NOW). I've learned to bounce back quickly when a joke lands poorly. If I trip in front of you I'm probably going to laugh rather than blush. I'm gonna get tongue tied for no reason. I've accepted that I'm gonna be awkward sometimes, and I don't sweat about it anymore.

You know what I don't bounce back quickly from? Real, genuine hurt. I don't heal very fast. If it's a little surface thing, if I know in my heart that it doesn't really matter - I'm golden. I'm not saying I'm easily offended. But when I get hurt, I bleed. You can see the pain on my face. And I used to not like this part of myself, I used to try my best to hide it. But now I've come to accept that this is my human response to pain and it is okay. It means I'm not numb. As a person who has both been broken and also experienced some really awesome growth in her life, here are a few things I've learned about healing.

1. Healing requires pain. 

It's not all peace and a waking up in the middle of the night with a light bulb realization that "fixes" you. Sometimes it's opening boxes we wanted to leave in the basement, forever. Sometimes it's bringing to the light something we wanted to hide about ourselves. Sometimes it's opening up just to be shut down. But the very act of opening and revealing is absolutely necessary if you want to take any steps forward.

2. Healing includes knowing where you are right now, and knowing where you're going to be

I can remember crying about something in my teens and a darling friend of mine looked at me and said, "Beth, if you want to get through this, you have to deal with what's going on now - but you also have to look to the future." You may be crippled by anxiety right now. But there will come a day - even for just one day - where you can breathe and feel peace and walk with your head high. Be honest about what you're struggling with. But saying, "Some day, I will feel better." isn't distractive or destructive. It's giving yourself a point of hope to hold out for. 

3. Healing admits that you might have to continue to heal. 

It might take more than just one conversation, one realization, one fear conquered. It's not always instant. I wish it was sometimes. The day you're hoping for where you're free from addiction, self-destruction, or grief may not come in the timing you want it too. You might have to come back and talk about something over and over, and over and over, and over and over, in order to truly deal with it. That's okay. (I will say though, that some things are not ready to be dealt with yet. Give yourself the time and space you need away from something before you chip away at it) 

You are not weak if somebody hurt you. You are not too messy if you can't hide your pain. But there are healthy ways to view your process, and unhealthy ways. I promise you, you are not too far gone. You're not. Stop thinking you're beyond grace. Stop thinking your issues are set like cement and can't be unset. Stop thinking you're stuck this way.

I'm not a master at this. I haven't "fixed" myself. My heart breaks in new ways every day. But the more I learn the easier those little waves are for me to ride - the more I've healed the better I can help other people do the same thing.

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