Building your own version of healing

Healing. It means something different to everyone. There are different versions, avatars of the same sentiment if you will. I think we can get lost in the abstract ideal of what it means to be “healed.” The truth is, however, that there is no one way of being healed, or experiencing healing, just as there is no one path to achieve this goal.

The looming goal of healing can seem rather daunting. The key is to bring it down to earth, to bring it to something you understand and can accept for yourself. At this stage, you’ve probably gotten very good at recognizing what you don’t want from life (no abuse, thanks!) and what you don’t want from relationships, etc. And you’ve hopefully removed yourself from these situations. The question now becomes what DO you want?

What you want is something very important to determine in the healing process. It’s okay to set a goal for your healing journey. Think about what being healed means to you. How do you want to feel when you’re healed? How will this affect your personal life? Your relationships? And what do you want your personal life and relationships to look like once you’ve achieved the goal of healing?

Defining what “healed” means to you is very important in working towards it. After all, if you don’t know what you are working towards, how will you ever get there? How will a therapist be able to help you reach that goal?

So take a few moments to think about what it means for you to be healed. Talk to your therapist about your goals, desires in this department, etc. Then go get it! In my opinion, perfection does not exist, because everyone’s version of what it means to be perfect is different. It is the same with healing. But defining what you want gives you a goal, a purpose, and can help immensely on your personal journey towards inner fulfillment and peace.

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Acceptance

Acceptance. It’s a funny thing. It can be so hard to accept yourself. To accept who you are. In this day and age, when the ideas of perfection are just a mouse-click away, and you are bombarded with images from the media, movies, etc., it can be so hard to look at life as it really is and say, “this is me.” “This is it.” Simple and unadorned.

With these stories of so-called “perfect” lives abounding around us, it can be so infuriating to look at your life and recognize that it’s not that. A life marred by abuse, by self-loathing, by anxiety, depression, anger, bitterness, hurt. The list could go on forever. And there are times when I’m so angry that my life doesn’t match what I feel like it should. There are times when I’m so upset, because I feel like this shot at perfection; this chance at being popular, having healthy relationships, etc., was taken away from me, or marred by abuse.

If I focus too much on these things I don’t have, it is easy to spiral down into depressive thoughts. Into self-loathing actions. The thing to keep in mind, that I have to keep telling myself, is that perfection does not exist. The idea of perfection is different for everyone. And if you do achieve this vision of “perfection,” then the vision changes to incorporate something else you don’t have/can’t look like/can’t do, or whatever it may be for you.

Acceptance of ourselves is one of the hardest questions life can ask us to solve. And it doesn’t have an easy answer. Especially if you have been trained not to accept yourself by those who have abused you.

But in my opinion, it eventually comes down to this, to a choice. The guts to choose to accept yourself. To accept the battle to accept yourself. Because it can be a battle; every day you might have to remind yourself that you are worth accepting. But God, doesn’t it feel good when you finally reach that state? When you finally say, all right, these are my limitations, these are my hurts, these are my flaws…and that’s okay.