How Do You Know When You’re Healing?
Once upon a time, 2016’ish, to be more precise, I thought I was doing pretty well emotionally. I had officially closed my boutique photography studio, started a blog, and was writing regularly about what I had learned and experienced throughout the previous two years. I had also hired a life coach, was reading a lot of self-help books and landed a job that matches my desire for flexibility and variety. Things were on the up and up and, I was optimistic about my future. However, for two years straight, I felt like a trainwreck.
During those two years, as my health declined, and I felt like I was never going to do anything meaningful with my life (being a mom wasn’t enough for me), it was a discovery process of what I needed to address emotionally, what wasn’t working in my life, and what I needed to change. This was also on the heels of unaddressed post-partum depression. And ultimately, what started to happen was decades of unresolved grief started to manifest in my business and life during that time, too.
Fast-forward to 2017, after three years of personal development work, an opportunity fell into my lap and the book that I longed to write was starting to come to fruition. My dream of one day writing a book was actually becoming a reality! Nearly every weekday morning, for two months straight, I got up at 5:30 AM to write. Then, while in the editing phase of the book, I would be hit with a loss that would bring up the deepest, unaddressed wound I had – the loss of my dad. My dad’s only living brother, and the one whom my dad was closest to, had brain cancer. And, the moment I heard the news that he was in the hospital, I decided right then I needed to see him, despite the thirty years that had passed since my dad’s funeral, which was the last time I ever saw him. So, the same day of receiving the news, I went to see him; not knowing if he’d want to see me, recognize me, or even if he was well enough to have a conversation. With a knock on that hospital door, the trajectory of my life would change, solely on that one decision, to knock on his hospital door. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and yet, I felt with every intuitive bone in me, that was exactly where I was meant to be.
The visit was incredibly healing, and the timing divine, because within fifteen minutes of my arrival, his daughter and niece arrived, neither of whom I’d seen since a kid. We were all shocked to see each other there and it was a moment I will never forget. And, the months that followed, were the greatest gift to my heart, as I would be gifted with several more visits with my uncle, and with his passing, I had felt we both received a gift we hadn’t expected, and one that would have never been possible had I not chosen to put my ego aside, risk my own heart, and knock on that door.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, grief makes us feel like we don’t have choices. Let this story illustrate to you that we always, always have a choice. And, doing nothing is a choice, too. That one act led to me realizing that I wasn’t okay. The inner-work that I had been doing up to that point, albeit not wasted, hadn’t actually addressed the root of all of my issues – the grief! It was that experience with my uncle that prompted a Google search that landed me on The Grief Recovery Institute website, which led to me registering for certification that was later canceled (I couldn’t believe it), that led to me booking a flight to Austin, TX to do my training there scheduled for the same time. I knew what I needed and I wasn’t about to let anything stop me at that point. Again, I had another choice to make. Do I take that cancelation as the end-all, be-all option? Or, do I find the resources to make, what I knew I intuitively was guided to, happen no matter the extra cost? I obviously chose the latter. Again, I had a decision to make; I could choose to live in my grief another year, which is what it would’ve been before another training within driving distance would’ve taken place, or answer the call of my heart. Thankfully, I chose wisely and, my heart has not been the same since.
It was not until after grief recovery where I knew I was healing. Surprise! But, it’s absolutely the truth. Because, for the first time in my life, I was able to have conversations I had never been able to have with the people closest to me, and not find myself a wreck for days that followed. The more I utilized the tools and knowledge of grief recovery, the less I looked to others to give me what I needed to be giving myself (love, affirmation, validation, etc.). My confidence started to grow and my self-awareness was through the roof. It was as if the veil of grief (which I’ve spoken about on my podcast) had been lifted and, I was seeing my life (past and present) with new eyes. I had the most life-changing experience when I went through the grief recovery method. And, it’s in knowing how hard it is to do the work, how emotionally and physically taxing it feels in the process, that I can guide others through the same process. It is anything but easy. And, it brings up stuff that you thought was long buried. However, in grief, you’re already suffering. You may as well be suffering and moving your feet. You may as well be moving one foot in front of the other, knowing that week by week of going through the process, you’re shedding another layer, and lifting that veil of grief higher and higher, until you, too, see clearly. Grief recovery is a clarifier of your life, a purifier of your heart, and allows you to be an emotional processing plant rather than the emotional storage tank you have been.
10 Ways You Know You’re Healing Emotionally
You find yourself changing your behaviors. Where you used to get angry about something someone said/did, you can step back from the situation and consider why that reaction provoked you. You may also be choosing healthier options in food, drink, or even friends.
You no longer feel the need to share the story with anyone who will listen. By this, I mean that you’re not sharing with the intention of needing or getting something in return: sympathy, validation, affirmation, etc. You find yourself sharing because 1. you were asked 2. because you have found your way beyond the pain and want to share to inspire and connect. You understand grief because you’ve been there. You understand life beyond it, too, though, because it no longer dictates your life either.
You find yourself pausing, bringing awareness to your feelings, before responding to situations or people with your emotions. The phrase I tell myself, “I don’t know what I don’t know” is my go-to to help me with this one.
When wounds from the past, that you long thought you buried, come up out of the blue, rather than resort to the same behaviors you used to, to feel better at that moment, you sit with all of the feelings, and seek support or help to work through it.
I hope today’s blog post provided some good insight into healing; that it’s a journey of self-discovery and every choice you make can either make or break your path to healing your heart.
We go to the doctor when we have a broken bone. We go to the dentist when we have a broken tooth. And yet, when we have a broken heart, we somehow think we can intellectually and logically heal hearts.
You can’t heal the heart with the head. You must tap into your heart. It is necessary to dig up the past if you want to heal it. Those that feel differently about that are likely not ready (or willing) to face what has long been emotionally unresolved within themselves.
My word of caution to all those hurting today reading this: be careful who you take your advice from; it could potentially be more harmful and hurtful to your healing. Many people value freedom. However, where most people miss the mark is understanding that the most difficult prison to break free from is the prison of one’s own mind. Being attentive to your heart will bring you the kind of freedom that can’t be bought. The caveat? You have to choose to do the difficult inner-work to get there. And, doing that is also choosing a more fulfilling, emotionally stable, and joy-filled life.
P.S. TODAY, 6/11, is the ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of my podcast GRIEVING VOICES!!! 📣🥳Thank you so much for listening, sharing, reviewing, rating, being a guest if you have been one (or are upcoming), and overall support! I am a one-woman show when it comes to the podcast, and I’ve definitely learned a TON along the way. And to think, I was hesitant and unsure right away because I wasn’t sure anyone would want to share their stories. And now, people wanting to be guests pop up left and right. And, if you are wanting to be a guest, and share your story, please head HERE and fill out this form. I don’t care if you’re an expert in a field or not; the premise of the show is to share your grieving voice and story. Everything beyond that is secondary.
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