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I’m sure we all know that the healing journey is not an easy one to take. If you didn’t, I am here to tell you that it’s definitely not. However, as I progress through my journey, situations that once would’ve sent me on a downward spiral I can now face in a healthy way. For those who are currently in the healing process, I’m here to share with you the five hard truths that I have learned.

healing is messy

Healing is very similar to grieving. When healing, you truly grieve over what you have lost during that time whether it be relationships, trust, love, etc. That being said, you go through the same stages. Denying what happened, becoming angry, trying to bargain, depressed and accepting what happened. Healing is messy and not linear. So, you might accept what has happened one day, but then feel depressed about it a week later. The healing process is an ongoing journey with no end and you will continue to bounce between these stages. I had to learn to accept all these feelings and learned to sit with them rather than push them down.

You have to hold yourself accountable but also ACKNOWLEDGE the role others played

It’s easy to get into the victim mentality or to blame yourself for everything. Eventually, you have to learn how to find a healthy balance between the two. This allowed me to both take responsibility for what I did but also not be too hard on myself. I had to learn that I had to not only forgive the other person but also forgive myself for the role I played. While it’s probably easier to point fingers at others, it makes the healing process way harder (and longer). Looking back on past situations, I went through a period when I tried to comfort myself by telling myself that it was all others’ fault or would beat myself up and say everything that happened was because of me. Over time, I had to accept the role I did play and learn how to not only forgive others but also myself. 

you will lose people

I lost so many people that I was for sure confident they were going to be in my life forever. It was hard to watch as so many of my friendships faded out, but once I realized that some of my friendships were rooted in toxicity, I never viewed them in the same way. I actually found it harder to tolerate those relationships the longer I stayed in them. It got to the point where I honestly didn’t know how to approach some of them anymore. Even if I tried to rebuild these relationships in a healthy way, most of them didn’t meet me halfway which resulted in me having to let go of those friendships.

You learn to put yourself first

I have always been the walking definition of a people pleaser. I always put others’ needs before my own regardless of how I felt. Every time I neglected myself to fulfill the need of someone else, I felt a tiny part of me die. I always associated kindness and love with sacrifice, which only left me drained mentally, emotionally and sometimes financially. I thought the only way to get love was to sacrifice parts of myself. I started practicing saying no and setting boundaries which were extremely hard at first and still can be at times. However, my therapist told me, “you cannot pour from an empty cup.” That being said for me to be there for others I need to take care of myself first. 

healthy seems boring if you are used to chaos

I realize that once all the drama and toxicity had disappeared, my life became more uneventful. I had nothing to rant about to my friends or my sisters. I felt like my life became truly boring. However, I decided to add things I enjoyed such as painting, learning bass, watching my favorite anime and hanging out with my friends to add some healthy “spice” back into my life. However, I recommend watching Single’s Inferno for those who crave major drama. 

My journey is still ongoing and I’m still learning so much as time goes on. These lessons may seem obvious but it’s different when you actually embody these lessons. The biggest lesson I have yet mentioned is that healing doesn’t mean that you have to forget the pain. Healing just means you don’t let the pain control your life.

Emma Joseph is a Senior at the University of Central Florida majoring in clinical psychology. She hopes to go to graduate school and get her masters in Counseling or Social Work working with young adults and teens. You can always find her in her bed watching murder mysteries or anime!
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