Over the last few years, people have been more open about seeking mental health services and embarking on their “healing journey.” This is a major change from past generations and time periods. Being able to hear and relate to other’s healing journeys actually releases a lot of the shame people carry about needing help. There are some myths about healing that might actually be harmful:
Once you heal, then you’ll become whole. This statement tells us that we’re broken, incomplete, or not a worthy person until we’ve fully healed. Contrary to popular belief, healing is not about becoming a complete version of yourself. Healing means learning how life experiences impacted you, unlearning unhealthy behaviors, and feeling
compassion and love towards all versions of yourself. It means knowing that you did the best you could with what you knew in the past. You have always been worthy of love, attention, respect, and happiness. You have always been whole.
Once you heal, you’ll never feel pain again. We all have endured painful experiences and face triggers in our daily life. Once we become aware of these things and learn how to soothe ourselves when we’re triggered, it doesn’t mean that all of that pain dissipates into thin air. When you think about the death of someone you loved deeply, you will always feel their absence in your life, but you learn to adapt and carry that grief with you. This applies to past trauma and painful experiences too. No one can erase memories, and there’s no such thing as “forgive and forget.” We don’t forget, but we can learn to regulate our nervous system and engage in behaviors that are healthier for us.
Once you heal, you’ll never engage in bad habits again. This is probably one of the biggest misconceptions about starting your healing journey. “If I go back to an old bad habit, then that means I went backwards and I’m not progressing.” This is actually so far from the truth. Envision your healing journey as a roller coaster; there will be ups and there will be downs. This is normal and completely okay! Think about how many years you engaged in this “bad habit” and recognize that it’s going to take time to unlearn it. Give yourself compassion and patience.
When you take the first step on your healing path, ask yourself what limiting beliefs you hold about healing and how you might reframe those. We often set high expectations for ourselves and what our healing journey looks like…but you need to find a way to release those. Walk into your journey with open eyes, an open heart, and an open mind. You don’t know what this path will look like, or where you’ll end up, but that’s the most beautiful part of it all.