There is a big move and push to heal before you move into anything new. Before moving into a new job. Before moving into a new place. Before moving into a new friendship. And definitely before you move into a new relationship. Heal! What are you a cut? Are you a broken bone? These two things have a finite time in which they heal. Do human beings?
Is there value in reflecting on your own behavior? Absolutely. It’s a must. Is it worth it to improve some of your bad habits and become better? That’s the whole goal of life. We should not stay in the same place. Each day we live, we should be better or trying to move forward from the day before.
But this focus on being healed before you move on. How long? If I cut my finger and my immune system is able to function reasonably well, I would have to simply clean it out, keep it dry, and try to keep it clean either with a bandage or something like that. Then after about 3 days, your cut for the most part is healing. By day 7, your cut has healed.
But how do you heal a whole person? How long does it take until you are healed? How many therapy sessions for those that can afford it? How many days of journaling? How many self-help books? What does it mean? Does it mean you can’t move on until you have checked off all the boxes on the healed checklist? Is there a healed checklist? Does it mean you can’t make new friends? Does it mean you cannot pursue your dreams until you have completely become the healed version of yourself?
It’s important to do inner work. It’s important to improve. But do you have to have it all done before you make the next step?
Healed vs Healing
There really is too much of this or that thinking going on. It seems like it’s simple enough. In fix it culture, it seems like it’s easy enough to do. Healed sounds like it’s the final stage, but life doesn’t work like that. Life is not always this or that.
Maybe it’s time we learned to operate in the between space. It sounds easier to tell people to heal instead of being in a constant state of healing.
Dealing with that in between is hard for a lot of people especially when we live in a society of checklists and over productivity. This leads a lot of people to believe that one thing must be done in order to begin the next thing. And that is true for a cake. You cannot ice the cake before you bake the cake. But we’re people; we’re not linear.
For instance, if you were in a relationship where you were demeaned for years, much like I was, you may never get that voice out of your head, the one that discounts your worth. The one that makes you doubt everything, but there are ways to deal with it so that it becomes fainter.
You work on making it become faint by healing. Not being healed. That voice may not leave in one week or even one year. The adage to heal before you move on would make it seem as though you must have eradicated that voice. What happens if that doesn’t happen? And that’s the thing about focusing on being healed. Certain things don’t just “heal.” Because the truth is, that part of you, that exists in that time will never be healed. But there are things that can be done to help and work toward the healing process.
We all deal with some things that may never be healed completely but we can work on the healing of it. We can work in the space between. It is a continuous process when one is dealing with insecurities, when one is overcoming hatred, when one is overcoming ableism, when one is overcoming abuse, etc. We learn tools to comfort ourselves, to improve ourselves, to love ourselves more. We are constantly working; we are constantly healing.
Healing Is A Process
Embrace that. Understand that there will be hiccups here and there. Be okay with the fact that there are no checklists that will do the healing process justice. Accept that being healed may not happen. Healing is ongoing. It is something that you may work on forever. And be okay with that.
Healing does not mean being healed; it means that you will be in a constant state of improvement. It is not something that you will arrive at by checking off items on a list. It is a journey. It is a process. You do not have to have a scar in order to prove that you have healed.
So am I saying you shouldn’t work on healing? Of course not. You need to feel better. You need to improve. But reframing the way we think of healing is absolutely imperative.
Reframing Your Thinking
Need some help as you reframe your thinking from “I’m healed” to “I am okay with healing being a continuous process?”
Here are some things I ask myself that has reframed my thinking:
- As you do the internal work: What do you need to do today to be a better version of yourself? What are some things that you need to improve? How will you actively take those steps?
- As you hold yourself accountable: Are there support groups you can join/create? Is therapy something you’re interested in and can do?
- As you move towards wholeness (also a process): What kind words are you saying to yourself? How do you show love to yourself?
Healing is not a finite thing; it does not have an end date. To be healed completely, we’d need a lifetime. And I don’t think that’s what we’re supposed to do: just remain in limbo while we’re waiting for life to happen. We’re supposed to live. And in living each day, and celebrating life moments, you’re healing.
Be okay with that. Allow yourself joy as you are healing. Allow yourself love while you are healing. Allow yourself grace. Do better each day. That is the goal.
And on a semantics note: if people mean healing versus healed, then they should just say that.