We talk a lot about traumas in life. Depression, anxiety, heartbreak, loneliness… just to name a few. It’s good to be real and bring these things to light, instead of trying to hide them and “just deal with it”. But we can’t stop there. That can’t be where our conversations leave off.
We need to introduce people to healing.
And lately, I have felt a very strange heaviness to write on this topic. Maybe because it’s not as common of a subject as I think it should be. Or maybe because I need to be real with myself and remind my own heart of everything that I am about to write. So I apologize in advance for switching back and forth between writing to “you” or writing to “us”. I’m just being raw here.
This is the season of healing.
This is the time and space,
the place to begin.
Acknowledging that you’re hurting, acknowledging the pain, acknowledging that you need to be healed – this can take some time because very often, our initial instinct is to think “I’m fine. I’m okay.”, and stuff our pain deep down in that bottomless mental cave called “denial”. But the thing is: feelings buried alive never die. They need to be faced head on, dealt with, let go, and only then can you truly begin move on. It’s not an easy task. I don’t think it ever will be. It’s downright scary. No amount of encouragement or support can lessen the blow you will experience when you take on this feat. But at the same time, no amount of therapy or counseling sessions or medication will stop our struggle if we don’t first give ourselves permission to stop seeing ourselves as damaged goods, as a broken heart, or a worthless human shell. So instead we must acknowledge the strength it took to survive the abuse and trauma we’ve experienced, and once we remind ourselves of this fact, we are building a solid foundation to healing and growing into an even stronger individual.
We are the only ones responsible for our thoughts, words, actions, and yes, our healing. Healing is a time consuming process, and it’s also a responsibility. You can’t heal unless you want to. You can’t expect your heart to mend overnight just because “you don’t want to hurt anymore”. It’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of effort. It will be a daily mindset, an area of focus. And it’s going to take responsibility. You are the only person who knows yourself. You know what you are capable of. You know what is best for yourself. You know how you feel when your mind and heart is healthy. And you know the familiar red flags and warning signals when you are in a situation that is toxic. So there’s no better person to stay accountable to than yourself. Oftentimes we think that we are helpless, that we don’t have control, that we “just can’t”. But you have the power to heal yourself. Claim it and consciously use it to heal your heart and mind. And don’t let whatever is causing you pain continue to control you. It is not your owner. Breakthrough begins when you realize this. Your faith will make you well.
One of the greatest steps in the healing process is the art and practice of forgiveness. This is detrimental to your healing because without it, bitterness will fester. And hey, let me be the first to tell you that it’s okay if the one you need to forgive is yourself. Sometimes it’s easier to forgive others, but then we hold this subconscious anger against ourselves because we “allowed” ourselves to be hurt by another individual. This is a very wrong mindset to have, though, because by thinking that way, we’re taking responsibility for another person’s actions when the truth is, this is never in our control. They made their choices and they will have to live with those choices. You don’t have to let it affect you, though. You can move on. You can forgive. You can heal. It takes being a warrior and fighting for your own self, battling against your deepest fears, defending your soul in the process. Just remember to still be gentle with yourself. Give yourself grace. Grant yourself forgiveness.
There is no deadline for healing. No secret recipe with ingredients on “how to not be in pain anymore”. Your body is designed to heal itself, though. Whenever you have gotten a cut or bruise, your body feels the pain (acknowledgement), recognizes it as a problem (responsibility), decides not to let it to affect the rest of the body (forgiveness), and over time, the bleeding stops, the bruise disappears, the wound heals. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be a scar. This doesn’t mean that years down the road, something won’t trigger a memory of the time you felt the pain. This doesn’t mean that you were never damaged. But what is true is that it doesn’t have authority over your life. Remember that wounds don’t always heal the way you want them to. They heal the way they need to. Give yourself time and much, much grace to allow yourself to heal. And guard your heart during this time. Set boundaries. Whatever you need to silence the anxiety, to distance yourself from anything that reminds you of your pain, don’t hesitate to make drastic changes in order to care for yourself. Healing is messy. It involves detachment, moments of darkness, days where it’s hard to get out of bed, and sometimes it’s difficult just to breathe. This is okay. You aren’t alone in feeling these ways. Just remember not to stay there.
People blossom when they feel loved. When they surround themselves with humans and things that are beautiful and make them happy, they grow and thrive. Words are powerful. And what we say and think about ourselves determines our outlook on life, and has the power to kill or encourage new life within us. Loving yourself is not wrong. Self-care should never be looked at as a bad thing. Without watering our own garden, we can’t be expected to tend someone else’s. But let me ask you this. Would you be friends with someone who talked to you the way you talk to yourself? If your answer is “no”, then I strongly suggest you rethink your self-talk and recognize areas of your life that can drastically change based on how you view yourself. Another big step in learning to love yourself and your life is by choosing to listen to your heart. Listen to what it’s feeling, instead of begging for it to not. It’s not a curse to feel. It’s merely something you need to gently train yourself in. Listen, acknowledge, and process. Bit by bit. Don’t let it consume you. Don’t let your thoughts control you. You are the greatest and most powerful living substance you know. You breathe air, you speak words, you have feet to take you on adventures, you have eyes to capture polaroids of memories. You are beautiful. You are fascinating. Feelings and thoughts are fleeting. They appear randomly (sometimes without you even consenting them to), and can change your whole mood – if you allow it. There’s nothing wrong with nodding a greeting in their direction, letting them know they are seen, but you have the choice whether or not to let them affect you. Do what is best for your heart and mind. Love your heart. Be gentle with yourself. Feed your soul whatever it needs to heal from the pain of whatever was hating it before. I know for me, personally, the greatest comfort and love I have felt is through spending time in my Father’s presence. He is the ultimate Healer. And His love does radical things to broken hearts.
This is the season of healing.
It’s a good place to be, although not always comfortable. Just remember that the pain you are experiencing is only going to make you stronger. A wildfire may be scary, but in the aftermath of its burnt path is fertile soil for a beautiful future. Embrace this time. Don’t let it consume you, but let it do its work. Breathe through the panic attacks. Linger in the moments of happiness. Treat yourself in ways that make you feel loved and safe. Take care of your heart. You are not alone. You are a warrior amidst a battle that is being fought by millions of others just like you.
You got this.
P.S. This is my first blog post as a 24-year old. I find it kind of fitting because I know God has a lot of healing prepared for me in 2019. Let’s do this.
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