If you’ve healed from anything over the last year, cheers to you. Healing really never stops. As long as you are alive, you’ll be actively healing from something done to you at the hands of someone else or even at the hands of yourself. Healing is not a neat and easy thing. It’s messy and difficult—the deeper the wound, the more work it takes to scab over. Our generation has, no doubt, become one that is more open to discussions about mental and emotional health, making it more normal for us to express the ways in which we’ve been hurt. We are finding therapists and making space for our healing unapologetically. We are taking time off from work, leaving relationships that do not serve us and unlearning harmful self talk. But, as we all turn towards the light that we want to project onto the world, the darkness is still there. As with anything that we are just familiarizing ourselves with, the learning curve can be laborious. 

Perhaps you’ve found yourself in the midst of an arduous healing journey, here are some things that people may have forgotten to tell you about the road ahead. 

Healing can feel like breaking. 

No, really. Coming back together can definitely feel like falling apart as we shed the pieces of ourselves that we developed in order to survive. It can often feel like “two steps forwards and four steps back” as you recognize harmful behavioral patterns and try your best to break them. And just when you think you’ve moved past something, it comes back with a vengeance and it can feel as if the work is starting over completely. If you think you’re in the weeds on your journey, you’re probably closer to being ok than you think. 

You will not be the same. 

We all have heard the sentiment “do not let what has happened to you change you” but the truth of the matter is, healing will bring on a change. You will not be the same person you were going into it and really that’s the point. It can be hard to part ways with who we’ve always identified ourselves as, so it can feel like we’re losing something. 

Healing begets healing. 

When we start to heal in certain areas of our lives, we will see that there are other things that need our attention. We become cognizant of ways of thinking and behaving that no longer serve us and then feel the urge to set about the business of cleaning those up. Therefore, it can feel like everything is out of place. But chances are, you’ve spent a lot of time making the mess you’re finding and it’s going to take some time to sort though it all. Give yourself some grace. 

You may have to leave people behind who did nothing wrong. 

Healing can bring so much into focus for us. And as we grow and stretch, we can notice certain relationships that make it difficult for us to show up as our new selves. Of course, there are people who will celebrate the new you and are willing to adjust your dynamic in order to make room for it. But there will be some who have yet to come into their own self awakening who will try to force you back into outdated versions of yourself. Those people are not ones you can hold onto as you ascend internally. There may not be an inciting incident for the conclusion of your relationship, it may just no longer be a character who belongs in the next chapter of your life. 

It can be isolating. 

As we are trying to come home to ourselves, it may mean that we need to spend more time alone. A lot of the things and people we fill our days with may no longer make a good fit for us once we start to prioritize meeting our highest selves. We can become annoyed with small talk and crave more meaningful connections; therefore, an inventory of our surroundings may cause us to retreat for a while. If you’re gravitating towards alone time, this is probably a sign that the work you’re doing is actually, well, working. 

You were always just doing your best…and so was everyone else.

Self forgiveness is such a crucial part of healing. When we really are able to step back and view our lives through a more compassionate lens, we can clearly see that at any time we are all just doing the best we can where we are. Understanding even the people who hurt us the most were literally doing the best they could at any given moment can bring up a lot of mixed emotions. Deeper compassion can feel like letting people off the hook for what they did but that’s not what it is. It is accepting them for who they were/are and, by way of doing so, releasing any grudges or need for closure you may have connected to them. It is freeing for all involved. 

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