I’m finally realizing what it means to heal. To be healing.
All these years I was under the impression that I knew what I needed to do in order to let go, in order to move on, but I know now — that’s the first place I went wrong.
I learned that it’s not necessarily actionable steps you can follow to get from point A to point Free. All this time I was struggling, I thought I was mentally weak, that I was moving on wrong, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t letting go at all.
The hurt nestled inside me would creep in on me at night when I was trying to fall asleep, when I was alone on the train, when I was surrendering in a hot shower, and I’d either try to push it down or let it take over my mind ALL DAY. You never really understand that phrase “always on my mind” until you find yourself consumed, unable to forget and unable to do anything about it.
Whenever I would have a day like this, I’d tell myself, “Okay, start over” — like it was some kind of board game and I landed on your property. I either had to go to jail (in my mind) or back to start, moving one step forward every day, rewarding myself when I wouldn’t dwell, until I did and all my progress would feel invalid.
But that’s not letting go. Moving forward, day by day, is definitely not the same as moving on, and I learned that healing only happens when you don’t punish yourself for your feelings or for thinking about the trauma or hard thing or heartache (which are usually all one in the same).
Healing is when you trust yourself, when thinking about your demon leads to learning and not crying. Healing is a shift in your perspective. It’s when you are able to drop the sadness, jealousy, and burning rage and understand that we all make mistakes and not everything is rosy cheeks and smiles and sometimes things are ugly; sometimes you are ugly, people you love are capable of being ugly, the WORLD is ugly, and the thought of that doesn’t make you want to crumble to the floor in self-doubt, thinking it’s something that you did wrong.
Healing is not abandoning worth when you feel an emotional turmoil relapse coming on.
Healing is not allowing yourself to get caught in your own vicious cycles.
It’s learning about yourself and knowing what you need to substitute in your life, what actions bring you joy and release. It’s finding things that ground your soul, that help you plant your feet instead of letting yourself fall.
I always had this idea that one day, the things that haunted me wouldn’t be there anymore and I would progressively put my ghosts to rest, but what I actually learned from healing is that we’re all a little haunted.
We’re all living with memories that will never go away, but they’ll fade as you make new ones. Healing is newness. Healing is trust and allowance and free of rigidness. Healing is not predictable.
Healing is not starting over or covering up — it’s embracing what’s underneath. It’s knowing there will always be hardwood under the carpet and pictures in boxes and not destroying all the time and money you spent making things pretty again because of an unconscious urge to disturb.
There’s this misconception that healing is forgiveness. But it’s not. Not everyone deserves the privilege of absolution, but it also doesn’t mean holding a grudge.
Please be soft and gracious with your healing. Make room for newness. The haunting thrives in darkness, so you’ll need to break open your chest for the light to escape and enter and fill up your life.
Make room for yourself to live with those ghosts — they’re always happier when you acknowledge they exist.