There are an insane amount of articles, lists, and a seemingly endless stream of advice on how to heal. Whether it be from trauma, bad experiences, situations in which you were wronged, we’re all looking for a way to get better. For a way to feel better. For a way to be okay again. For a way to put ourselves back together. For a way to heal.
In our obsessive search for better, for okay, for healing, it becomes incredibly easy to look for something revolutionary. We’re looking for the big “AHA!” moment. The seeing the light moment. The big reveal. The moment that makes us go “Ahh yes now I’m okay. I am magically healed!”
And it’s understandable! It completely is. Even when it sounds a little ridiculous when you put it that way, it’s completely easy to understand why people look for magic and these big “aha moments” when they’re on a path to healing. When you’ve gone through something hard and potentially traumatic, wanting an overnight transformation to being better is normal. Wanting to find the answers and be able to say, “I was shitty yesterday but today I’m cured!” is obviously something we all wish we could do when we’re going through difficult times.
But the truth is, healing doesn’t work that way.
In a lot of ways, when you really get down to the nitty-gritty of it, healing is pretty boring.
Real healing, the kind of healing that’s permanent, doesn’t look glamorous, or even really interesting. It’s making the choice to be active in your own recovery. It’s waking up each day and trying your best. It’s learning how to just exist and be okay and be okay with being okay.
It’s, simply, deciding to heal.
It’s doing little, everyday things like paying your bills on time, getting enough sleep, and drinking water when you really want a beer. It’s cleaning your apartment instead of letting the dishes pile up into a mountain. It’s making your bed in the morning instead of never getting out of it. It’s remembering to get regular haircuts and washing your face every morning and night. It’s not necessarily massages and luxurious “self-care” but it’s putting forth the effort and the kind of diligence you need to actually take care of yourself.
It’s recognizing that relationships don’t have to be a whirlwind of chaos to be impactful. It’s refusing to chase after people who don’t want you. It’s learning to stop romanticizing the idea of saving someone or fixing someone or being the one stable thing in a rollercoaster of a relationship. And, simultaneously, it’s no longer relying on someone else to be your keeper because you’ve already done the work to show up and take care of yourself. It’s accepting that relationships don’t have to be filled with extremes to be good.
See, the truth is in a lot of ways, is that actually healing is boring. It’s not anything remarkable. It isn’t going to look like a perfectly situated Instagram on the beaches of Costa Rica or some out-of-the-blue realization that ends up in a Ted Talk.
In fact, real healing is something you might not even notice happening. At least not at first.
Because you’ll just be doing it.
You’ll be showing up for yourself, you’ll be trying. You’ll be making the effort and taking care of yourself. You won’t be allowing life to be this thing that just happens to you—you’ll be an active participant.
So yes. Actually healing, actually recovering, actually getting better isn’t going to be the most exciting thing in your life. It isn’t going to be loud and gratuitous and there will probably be nothing particularly glamorous about it. It’s going to be repetitive. It’s going to be boring.
But that’s okay.
Because by doing the boring work, you’re making room for life again. You’re finding the tools to take care of yourself in a way that sets you up for success. You’re giving yourself the ability to be okay and to know that experiences that hurt you don’t have to have forever ramifications.
Healing is, truthfully, kind of boring. It’s not exciting or magical and there’s no aha moment at the end of some metaphorical tunnel.
But the best part about healing and doing the work is the fact that after you do, you get to keep going. And by going, by continuing, by living? That’s where you’ll probably find some magic.