If 2019 and honestly 2020 for you is anything like it was for me, a lot has happened. Not everything we went through carried over into the new decade, but if we’re being honest, we haven’t healed from it all. From my experience and conversations with various members of the ParTay People, healing is hard for a lot of us. Either we don’t fully understand it, we deny the process or we truly just don’t know what to expect. From what I’ve uncovered, here’s why healing may be harder than we expected it to be:
The injury is unexpected
Usually, when we injure ourselves or someone injures us, we don’t see it coming whether it’s intentional or accidental. So when the injury occurs, we are unprepared, in shock and honestly afraid. For a lot of us, when that injury happens, we haven’t the slightest clue what to do or how to nurse what we’re feeling. This is the first stage of the healing process: acknowledging the wound and how it feels.
When you go to the doctor’s office for an injury, they ask you to identify how it happened, your pain level on a scale of 1-10, where it hurts to help them assess a treatment plan moving forward. You have to do the same thing with your emotions. Say it to yourself, out loud or write it down. Identify what happened, how badly it hurts, and where it’s hurting you. And be honest! It does you no good to lie to yourself about how it hurts! You’re just delaying the healing process if you do.
Is it your self-esteem? Is it your ego? Is it the trust you shared with someone? Assess, where your injuries stem from and then develop a treatment plan. If you can do it alone, perfect, but do not feel ashamed about asking a friend, family member or therapist.
We bandaid the wound and expect that to be enough
I’ve seen it and done it time and time again. When you’re cut and you bleed, your innate reaction is to look for a bandaid to cover it up and stop the bleeding. While you may (or may not) be able to stop the bleeding, it does not negate the pain you’re feeling. We try our best to be strong and pretend not to experience pain by sweeping it under the rug or ignoring it but that doesn’t (in most cases) help the healing process.
Also, in some cases, when you experience a physical wound, a bandaid may not be what’s best. Sometimes, that wound needs to breathe to heal. Covering up a wound that supposed to breathe can cause infections. In terms of our emotions, not allowing those wounds to breathe can cause infections in other places. Our minds. Our hearts. Our Spirits. Allow that emotional wound to breathe. Allow yourself to breathe.
-It requires time
We are such an insta-generation. Everything is basically at our fingertips. We can talk to, message, order food, and my personal favorite, shop instantly. By nature, we are not very patient people, especially, when it comes to healing.
For me and a few ParTay People I’ve conversed with, we want to rush the healing process because the feelings brought up at the onset of the injury are so uncomfortable to sit with. The devastation, the sadness, the shock, the anger. No one wants to carry that energy around. One, it’s heavy. Two, it’s toxic. What we fail to realize is, it’s okay to feel these emotions. Even though they don’t have the most positive connotation, experiencing these emotions are important.
Hurtful emotions are just as important as happier emotions but what's most important is what you do with them. If you healthily process them, they help you make wiser decisions moving forward because now you know better, and you remember how that felt. For example, I dislocated my shoulder disengaging a lock on a table. Crazy. But now, when I need to disengage a lock on a table, I’m overly cautious because I remember how it feels and I hated it.
-You have to exercise that muscle
A few weeks after injuring my shoulder, I had to start physical therapy. Lifting light weights, rolling my arms forward and backward. I was so nervous because I didn’t want to run the risk of injuring my shoulder again, but to rebuild that muscle, I had to put that fear aside and exercise it. The same needs to happen with your emotions. When you lose trust, self-esteem, etc, exercise that muscle again to strengthen it. Act from a place of wisdom when doing so.
If someone broke your trust, you don’t want to blindly give it back to them. Allow them to earn your trust by way of their words and actions. Time is also an important step in this stage. Just like when I was rehabilitating my shoulder, I had to be patient, starting with two-pound weights. Then, five, 10, 15 and so on. When you begin to exercise these emotions, do so in small increments at a time. As you increase your strength and rebuild that muscle, the easier trusting and loving will become for you.
-It may never be/function the same again
One of the most immobilizing concepts of healing is fear. Often when we heal, the injuries make a full recovery and return to full functionality, but that’s not always the case. In terms of our emotions, when we heal, it may bring us to the conclusion that whatever we are healing from will not be the same, whether that’s a relationship, friendship, work-place incident, etc.
My shoulder, while much stronger than it was before, will never be the same. It doesn’t mean I can't use it anymore, or that I can’t lift weights ever again. It just means I can’t the way I used to. This may be the case with a relationship for example. You may no longer be boyfriend/girlfriend, friends, coworkers, etc, but if you’ve removed yourself from something that hurts you, you’re healing. If you all are still able to be friends, but not as close as you were before, you’re still healing. Small progress is still progress even if it doesn’t mirror the original or intended outcome/behavior.
Different could also be better. Say trust has been broken between you and a loved one, and it may be due to a miscommunication. Once that hurt has been exposed, allowed to breathe and exercised, the healing can bring a newness to the relationship that was better than the relationship you had before.
When we’re inexperienced, we’re self-righteous and quite honestly, ignorant. So we see someone go through something, without a full understanding (experience) of the emotions that come with it and cast our judgment on how they handle things. With that said, healing looks different for everyone. Allow everyone to experience healing in a way that works best for them, not you. Different people respond to the same situation differently.
Whatever you’ve been through, currently going through, or will go through, my prayer is that you heal from your hurts and allow them to grow you and stretch you. Be patient with your process. Confide in someone you trust and who is emotionally intelligent to help you cope. Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.