When you’re hurting, the advice is to “give it time”. Time heals all wounds, right? What no one tells you is that time alone isn’t enough. Healing has to be intentional. They also don’t tell you that healing is not easy. It hurts. For those of you who can wake up one day, truly unbothered by your specific situation, that is definitely a blessing. But for those of you who, like me, are struggling through your journey of healing – be encouraged knowing that this process will be worth it. Continue walking forward with great expectation.
When I say “healing,” I’m referring to the process of becoming mentally and emotionally well. Becoming free from what has hurt us and kept us bound. Receiving a near permanent alleviation of the pain we may feel towards certain situations. Forgiving those who have wronged us. Unlearning the lies we have been believing about ourselves, others, God, and life in general. Revisiting wounding situations and putting them to rest so that they no longer have power over us. Reflecting on our own self-sabotaging ways, recognizing where those behaviors come from, and committing to a better path. Moving forward with a peace of mind. Healing isn’t easy.
My personal journey has been full of up’s and down’s. When I’m good, I’m great. But when I’m down, I’m low. Exhausted and overwhelmed with a heaviness in my chest. This process has been harder than I was anticipating. I had a false perception that as soon as I decided I was ready to move forward, I’d start glowing and everything would be smooth. You hear the word healing and automatically envision a glow up. Wrong. I can change my hair and walk with my head held as high as I can, and it still won’t change the status of my heart = hurting.
The truth is, I’ve been frustrated by the unanswered questions and lack of understanding that I have in my situation. Because my knowledge is limited, my mind jumps to worse case scenarios just trying to fill in the missing pieces. My insecurities start to show. Subconsciously rehearsing my self-defeating thoughts. I find myself blaming myself for what happened…. for what I allowed to happen. Wondering where I would be if I had of done things differently. Not so much regret, but disappointment indeed. I’ve been angry that I haven’t gotten the closure I try to convince myself I need – knowing the “closure” will probably heighten the feeling. I’m annoyed that the more I try to feel better, the worse I feel. It’s all toxic, and I’m ready to be past this.
It’s imperative to note that allowing myself to feel has been necessary. I may be frustrated, upset, angry, sad, confused, etc., but acknowledging those emotions is healthy. God can’t heal what we won’t acknowledge. Y’all don’t know how long it took me to even accept that I was single again, and it wasn’t until recently that I admitted to myself that I’m “heartbroken” (even typing this is a challenge</3). It’s safe to say I’ve finally moved past the denial stage (see 5 Stages of Grief). This has been a huge step in my healing, but it hasn’t been easy.
Not only am I healing from this break up, but the process has revealed a deeper issue – a negative view of self. There is much to be said and much to be learned on the topic of self-worth, but I’m realizing I have some growing to do in that area. I’ve always viewed myself as a secure person who loves and values myself, but is it really self-love if you feel you have to prove your worth? Are you really secure in yourself if you only feel it when you’re being validated by others? If you really knew your worth, then why do you never feel like you’re enough and believe that you somehow need to “be better” in order to receive the love and acceptance you’ve been seeking? Maybe I’m the only one who has been getting this wrong, but what I’m hoping to get across here is that healing goes deep. For me, it’s deeper than merely healing from the loss of a relationship. For me, it’s facing my insecurities, noticing my negative patterns, and breaking the cycle. For me, it’s becoming secure in who I am. For me, it’s getting to a place of confidence in myself so that I never end up in similar situations again.
Just when I thought dealing with a hurtful situation was hard enough, I learned that acknowledging your insecurities and revisiting old woulds is also a challenge to say the least. As I look back over distant memories, I’m saddened by the impact that some of them had on me. My therapist had me do an exercise where I reflect on what I believe about myself and where those beliefs come from. One of the prompting questions to go along with that was “what did I learn from _____ situation?” What negative thoughts or beliefs did I walk away with from those situations?
I took it upon myself to go as far back as I could remember. I reflected on middle school, high school, college, home life, specific relationships with the opposite sex, and different friendships I’ve had. When I tell yall this had me in tears at some moments! This was one of those writing exercises that I needed to do over the course of a few days. It was heavy emotionally. So many hurtful interactions that I didn’t even realize I carried with me. Everything from what the boy said to me in 7th grade to how the friend treated me in high school. Even what I’ve learned subconsciously through situations in my adulthood. It’s no wonder I see myself the way I do. So many lies I’ve been believing. And I can see so clearly how those beliefs impact my current way of thinking.
It’s been rough to think about, but freeing at the same time. Now that I know what’s going on, I’m tasked with reshaping my mind. Thankfully, this isn’t anything I have to do on my own. My “glow up” is coming from God. I’m not a fan of the emotional roller coaster, but I know I have to press through and get my healing. There are a number of things I could do to cope, but I decided early on that I didn’t want to just cope. I don’t want to just “manage” the emotions. I want my heart to heal. I want my broken pieces to be mended back together, and I want it to be seamless. I don’t only want to be healed from the loss of a significant relationship, but I want to be free from all of my baggage that has built up over the course of my life. I want to be made new! I refuse to carry my brokenness forward. I want to be whole and ready as I walk into my future. I’d hate to miss out on God’s best for my life because I was still operating from a place of brokenness. I’ll take a season of tears and frustration over a life of unresolved and misplaced emotions that I’ve buried. *Insert Shrug Emoji*
With all of that being said, know that it’s okay to still hurt while you’re in the process of healing. Healing does indeed take time, but it takes intentional effort, too. You have to believe that it will be worth it. You have to believe that better lies ahead. You have to know that you weren’t meant to remain broken, but that there is greater within you. You have to be willing to be vulnerable with yourself; with God. Not only will He heal you, but He’ll comfort you throughout the journey as well. From one hurt individual to the next, know that it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
P.s: For tips on what has been helping me throughout my healing process, check out Healing Hurts (Part 2): 5 Tips to Persevere