More than anything, we all want to feel better, whether it’s after a small hurt or something that completely changed our lives. And once we feel that we’ve healed, even in a small part, we want to share that experience with other people in pain. We want to let people know that yes, that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t just a cliche; it’s actually there.
One of the worst things about our culture is the need to put on a happy face. Negative emotions are seen as signs of repressing, depression, not healing, not dealing in the right way.
For me, healing was complicated. It was messy, nerve wracking, full of angry tantrums at life or people, crying, periods of wishing, self harm, wondering what I was doing wrong or right, choosing to play out parts of it in the media, more anger and sometimes even just plain boredom. When I did eventually find forgiveness, I discovered it completely by accident. Then I realised that forgiveness wasn’t the end, and I needed to start a whole new level of healing.
Healing is not a destination. It’s not a magical place where everything is perfect again and the pain all goes away. It’s a journey, one that never really ends, because nothing can truly remove the cause of the pain. It’s not meant to be easy, or neat, or to a timeline. It’s meant to be about learning the lessons we need to learn, to deal with the pain the way we need to.
Want to help someone heal? Let them ask for help. Or offer help, then drop the subject and simply support them when and how they need it, no strings attached. It’s ok for people to cry, or be angry, or go through any other emotion they need to, before they feel better. No two people heal in the same way and forcing it can make the pain worse. If they start to hurt themselves or others, step in and help them as much as they need. But don’t expect the healing process to begin before they’re ready, or follow the same path as yours. For all you know, they may already be on their healing journey and the impartial support you’re providing is the one thing they need to keep going.