Are we obsessed with healing?
Is the culture curated around healing perpetrating one's need to "fix" themselves?
Is our need to be constantly "working on ourselves" causing us to find new things to be anxious and depressed about?
What started out as individuals seeking to move beyond traumatic experiences, fears and insecurities has become individuals drowning themselves in healing practices but being stuck in the same cycle.
Once I became aware of my own issues, I couldn't stop finding issues. Every day, a new one would pop up. Initially, I thought this was great. I figured because I was so self-aware, I would be able to fix all of the things I believed I needed to fix about myself. Then, I would finally be happy and free from the chains of past experiences. I was committed to going through the baggage I had accumulated over the years but it started to take over my life. I am actually in the beginning stages of this realization, meaning I am currently in the process of reshaping my relationship with personal development. So, I am not writing this article as an expert. I am writing this article as someone who is currently moving through the experience.
Learning and adjusting as I go.
A lot of things started to come up for me during my journey; most of these things stemmed from childhood. Actually, all of them stemmed from childhood. Healing requires you to go down memory lane and, depending on your experiences, you may or may not spend a lot of time there. While this can be helpful, venturing down memory lane tends to be in direct conflict with the concept of being and staying present. One can easily get stuck in their own memories which can end up triggering mental loops and cause you to put yourself in a destructive emotional cycle.
During my various healing transitions, I found myself having on-again off-again experiences with anxiety and depression. I was beating myself up mentally and emotionally when it came to the changes I knew I needed to make but was finding myself falling short. This was a symptom of me raising my awareness. I became aware of everything. Awareness is a very beautiful and necessary thing but I do think it's important to note that it could end up doing more harm than good if it isn't applied in the most nurturing way.
I was constantly at war with myself. I felt split, like I was two people in one.
One side of me, I will call her the "evolved side", was attuned and aligned, trying to live her best life. While the other side of me, I will call her the "default setting", was clinging to the traumas, fears, insecurities and false narratives. I would go back and forth between these two states but most times, I just found myself feeling depleted. I call this the healing vortex. I'm not sure if you have ever experienced this whirlwind I am describing but it was trapping me in old storylines and causing major stagnancy when it came to moving forward with the new stories and beliefs I had created.
This healing vortex made me feel like I was always taking two steps forward and three steps back. So my obsession with "healing" or relieving myself of this stagnancy resulted in me diving deeper into my addiction with trying to fix myself. Let's examine this frame of thinking for a second. To believe that you need fixing would imply that you think you are broken. This thought automatically starts the healing process off on a negative note.
Dr. Crystal Jones, a friend and spiritual advisor has built her platform around disempowering this broken narrative and leading with the empowered concept of humans being fundamentally perfect, whole and complete. I encourage you to look her up. I love this ideology because I believe it gives us space to focus on self-allowance, rather than thinking we need to dismantle ourselves.
I now believe healing is a perspective shift. I don't believe healing is this life-long experience, at least I don't believe it has to be. It also doesn't have to involve pain and self-torment. The concept of healing seems to have become something we drag out, just like many of us do with traumas. We trade one addiction for another, which can be a common thing for addicts.
I have decided to break up with healing as I move more into evolving.
Healing implies you are recovering from something. Evolving is more so about growing and moving forward. One is rooted in attempting to put oneself back together and the other is rooted in embracing the next phase of who you are, regardless of who you have previously been.
This switch in perspective comes with less stress and strain and more ease and flow. Suffering doesn't have to be a prerequisite for personal growth. Your transformation can be adventurous, wonder-filled and playful. So, I have started to "look at life from a place of play instead of climbing a mountain." (Aijt Nawalkha) Shifting my belief around what it means to change has taken the pressure off of getting that next self-help high. I'm not focused on beating myself up for not being better because better is a choice. You choose to be better, you choose to be okay, you choose to move forward and then you commit to that choice in every moment.
I no longer believe I have to heal my way through life. I choose to playfully and graciously evolve with lots of self-compassion and my sanity still in tact.
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Featured image by Getty Images
Originally published June 30, 2019