Some say that they have healed and live better lives for it meanwhile some are perplexed as to how they ever could heal. But what does healing really mean and how much time does one actually want to dedicate to it?
Augusten Burroughs, who has written countless memoirs of his very traumatic childhood, believes that heal is a “TV word,” and that while sounding pretty and ideal, that it is in fact forced and plastic. The definition of healing is to get better, not to be cured and despite common belief, even to be cured does not imply to be rid of, rather, it implies to be relieved of the symptoms of a disease or condition. It seems as though people have adopted an overly idealistic perspective of what being emotionally healed really means and some will travel far and wide to attain it.
In The Defining Decade, Psychologist Meg Jay mentions a conversation between herself and a client. The client has accumulated quite a bit in savings and is debating whether she should spend it on countless (and costly) therapy sessions or focus on her continuing education. The client genuinely believes that unless she resolves her past, akin to her terrible relationship with her father, that she will never be happy. Meg Jay was shocked by how much time and money this woman was willing to spend all in the name of healing, all the while forgetting to consider her present circumstance, which included the development of her career and her current relationships. She advised her client against it and expressed that it’s one thing to want to understand the past and another to continue living in it.
Having spent time in therapy, I have to admit that the past may have something to offer. It can offer insight into why you are how you are, and who you are today. It can encourage you to reflect on your beliefs, the choices you’ve made, the behaviors you repeat, the relationships you’ve developed and the people you’ve been willing to call a friend, lover, or foe. But aside from allowing you to understand why, how, and where you are today, what more can a rancid fruit possibly provide you?
I do not believe in healing when it is perceived to have the ability to erase what once was. There is no guarantee that one will forget, forgive or ever stop grieving. Beyond understanding, there is nothing else to gain from the past. Perhaps it’s time augment our unrealistic perception of this verb and replace it with a few others: Overcome, surpass, accept, move on.
I know the idea of healing is important to a lot of people but I believe in progress and growth through discipline which means forcing yourself to repeat a behavior until it becomes habitual. So consider this: If you don’t encourage yourself to get up, to wipe the tears, to set aside and suppress in order to refocus, how do you build a life for yourself? Realistically consider: Just how much can one dwell? Just how much emotional exhaustion are you willing to endure and why?
Make this your mantra: I refuse to allow my past to spoil my fabulous future.
Remember: If you want to build a good life you need to be relentless in your focus and consistent in your approach. Dwelling is unproductive therefore it is a waste of time and a threat to your goals. Please consider how you’re spending your time and your emotions, and where they can be allocated otherwise. The biggest mistake people make is allowing their past to haunt their present. If you really want to heal the pain of your past, Halt every craving to reawaken the dead. Take the power back and remember that the present is relevant.