Some people look at healing as a fixed destination. But that implies a defined endpoint – a place in time where you’ll be “fully healed.”
In reality, healing often doesn’t work like that. Instead, the journey towards healing might take you in different directions during different periods of life. And healing is as much of a practice as it is a destination.
As you consciously make efforts to heal, those actions lead you towards a greater self-awareness where you can come to terms with the pain and trauma you’ve experienced in the past. So, don’t think of healing as a linear process. Instead, accept it as a personal journey where progress is just as significant as the final result.
Linear healing is a misconception that suggests the healing process only moves in one direction. It describes moving from point A to point B without detours or setbacks.
In addition, linear healing is only focused on positive actions. For example, people may think that healing starts by becoming aware of a problem in their past that has negatively affected their present. In response, they may take positive steps towards solving their troubles, such as attending counseling or other forms of therapy. If only they can follow the right advice, they think, they’ll eventually arrive at a finish line of “healing.”
However, it’s difficult to move in one direction when addressing emotional, physical, or psychological pain. Since everyone’s background is different, they develop unique coping mechanisms that make the path toward healing take diverse routes.
The non-linear healing process is full of ups and downs. You may gain momentum and start feeling like you’ve finally developed the proper habits and mental strategies to overcome your obstacles. But it’s often right at that moment when you hit a setback that makes you feel like maybe you haven’t learned anything at all.
That’s okay. The healing process is complex and requires you to be flexible and open to discovering new avenues of improvement.
For example, let’s say you’ve finally pinpointed a problem that plays a recurring negative role in your life. A positive next step would be to talk to a trusted friend or family member who can help you work out a future strategy for dealing with this issue. Another good option would be to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor.
What’s next? You should be prepared for those negative thoughts and bad habits to creep back into your life. Building positive patterns takes considerable hard work and is challenging for everyone.
Now is the moment to re-evaluate your coping strategies and determine what you should do to improve them. But setbacks shouldn’t be viewed as only negative. Instead, treat them as a learning experience – perhaps this is an opportunity for you to get to the root of your issue.
There will be good and bad days, but keeping negative emotions at bay is essential. Don’t silence them completely. Just realize that they don’t need to take center stage. Focus on making small daily improvements and being grateful for your progress.
Healing is often a challenging process. As a result, you’ll probably experience a setback or two in your journey. But that’s okay. Once you understand that healing isn’t linear, you can be prepared to come up with more creative solutions instead of relying on a straight path.
Picture an obstacle course. Some obstacles require you to climb over them, others force you to crawl underneath, and some might only be overcome by swinging from one side to the other. If you can’t find a way over the top, it’s time to look for ways to go around, underneath, or even straight through.
Remember, there are no rules when deciding your healing timeline. Everyone heals at their own pace. While some may benefit from an active approach to directly confronting their challenges, others may react better when working at a slower pace, incrementally addressing different aspects of their obstacle until they’re ready to deal with the issue as a whole.
Trust yourself to recognize the signs of personal progress. And celebrate your wins, whether large or small. Like you would show empathy to others undergoing healing, showing yourself that same level of compassion is crucial.
If you struggle to work through a particular issue or are unsure how to continue building positive habits, don’t hesitate to reach out. As a certified coach, I have extensive experience in helping individuals overcome their negative emotions and establish healthy behavior patterns to prevent the same issues from coming up in the future.