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As Tori Amos once said, “Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” In life, everyone will experience sad and terrible circumstances that will leave you hurting, vulnerable, and emotional. No matter what your life may look like now, eventually, we will all have times of trauma and healing.
There are so many truths about healing that no one ever talks about. We want to believe it’s easy, quick, and painless, but the truth of the matter is healing takes time and has a lot of dips and bumps along the road. But I hope these truths about healing can not only make you feel better about the pace of your own journey but can also help give you hope that it will get better one day.
Time really does heal all wounds
It’s a clichéd truth, but the first thing you need to recognize about the journey towards healing is that time really does mend all wounds. It definitely doesn’t feel like it at the moment – sometimes it can feel like time is stretching on and on with no end in sight for all the pain you’re feeling.
I promise though, no matter what, that there will be a day when everything hurts a little less. It’s a slow process, but one day you’ll find that the tears have dried up. And maybe a few weeks later you can smile again without feeling guilty. And then, eventually, you’ll go a whole day without thinking about your pain at all. And that’s what healing is all about.
Time makes everything seem a little less bad eventually – you just have to be willing to wait and do your best in the meantime.
Healing isn’t a straight line
One of the biggest truths about healing is that it isn’t a straight line – getting better isn’t a journey from point A to point B. It’s hitting every loop and dip on the roller coaster until finally, you find yourself slowing down and returning to the safety of the stable ground.
Well, I guess even that’s not completely true. I don’t think pain inherently has an end – you never forget the pain. Rather, healing allows you to reach a place where it’s more of a light scar on your skin and less of a throbbing wound.
So I guess healing is like being on a boat in the middle of the ocean. You never know when a giant wave will come or if a whale will tip you over into the sea. But, at some point, you’ll reach a stretch of calm peacefulness where you can find joy in the ocean instead of simply fear. And that’s what taking time for healing is for – to reach the calm.
It’s okay to not be okay (even when you think you’re better)
But even when the sea may seem calm, there’s always the chance for another wave. Even though healing can help you reach a point where you’re better – emotionally, mentally, and physically – that doesn’t necessarily mean every day is good. Some days will still suck, and that’s okay.
Pain can linger and stick around in ways you may not expect, and when it hits you sometimes it can feel like your whole world is falling apart all over again. But taking the time to heal and take care of yourself means that you’re more prepared for the bad days – you’re stronger than you were before, and you can take the pain without crumbling.
But it’s also okay to not be okay. Still being sad about your pain doesn’t mean you’ve ruined all the healing you’ve done – it simply means you’re a human being with a wide range of complex emotions.
Pain lingers in unforeseen ways
Healing isn’t about getting rid of the pain completely – it’s more about trying to find ways to make it manageable and quiet until one day it doesn’t hurt so much. But the pain still finds ways to linger in the cracks, finding a home in habits and thoughts.
Before I moved to Japan, I used to have a ferret that I loved with my whole heart. She’d scamper around and hide under everything, and you constantly had to walk on tiptoes to make sure you weren’t stepping on a wayward tail or hidden paw.
She passed away in February and despite the fact that it’s been over a year since I lived with any animals, I still find myself getting scared that I stepped on her when I step on something strange. I almost had a heart attack the other night thinking I accidentally crushed a little ferret tail when all I’d done was step on the thick edge of a weighted blanket. It’s strange how stuff like that sticks with you.
It’s okay if the pain pops up on you every now and again, as long as you don’t let it push you too far backward in your healing process.
Music is good for the soul
When in doubt – when the pain is worse than ever and you feel like there’s no end in sight – music is good for the soul. During all my worst times, during every moment where the healing process seemed never-ending, music was the thing that picked me up and helped me stand.
Whether it’s sad songs to feed your pain or loud, happy music that overwhelms your thoughts until you can’t think of anything else except the beat and rhythm, music is the best medicine for the days when nothing else seems to work.
Healing isn’t about recognizing your pain and working on yourself all the time – sometimes it’s okay to escape into something safe that can distract you for a little while. Alternative coping methods are a viable way to help yourself heal.
Life moves on and so will you
At the end of the day, healing is about recognizing that life moves on. No matter what you’re feeling, no matter how earth-shattering what you’re going through seems, the world never really ends.
It keeps turning and moving forward and one day you’ll move forward with it.
It’s okay to get stuck for a while. It’s alright to feel as though you’ve lost your purpose and you don’t know what’s coming next. But tomorrow will still come either way and even if it takes time, eventually you’ll find yourself moving along with the world.
Sometimes I think humans are a lot like fish in a stream – the water keeps moving forward and we just end up swimming along with it, even if it’s not where we thought we’d be going.
There’s nothing wrong with the bare minimum
One truth I learned when I was going through a particularly difficult healing process was that you don’t have to be at 100% every day. Some days you can only give 30%, or maybe even 10%, and that’s okay, too.
Something my best friend told me when I was having a difficult time was that getting up in the morning and living my life – even if I did so at a much slower pace – was good enough. Did you shower and brush your teeth today? That’s amazing! Did you manage to go to work without breaking down into tears? That’s even better!
It’s okay to have days where all you can give is the bare minimum. It may not seem like enough at the time – and maybe to some people it isn’t – but as long as, eventually, you work towards getting back to that 100%, then the bare minimum days are completely okay.
Healing isn’t about cutting yourself some slack when you are hurting, and recognizing that doing your best is good enough.
It’s never fully over, but it will be better
The biggest truth I know about healing is that it’s never fully over. You never stop trying to heal – bad things happen constantly, and we are set back in our healing, and maybe we even have to start over. We’re on a boat in the ocean, remember? It’s not a linear process.
But, eventually, it will get better. The tears will stop and your heart won’t hurt anymore and you’ll be able to appreciate all the beautiful, wonderful moments of life again without feeling like you’re sitting under a raincloud. Just because you are set back sometimes doesn’t mean you aren’t still healing and getting better. It just means you’re human, and as long as you’re doing your best in trying to heal, then you’re doing an amazing job!
Do you know other truths about healing? Tell us in the comments.
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.
In tears as I read this as it is right on time. Healing also starts and stops- when you do. Time-time is everything, and it can be a very very long process