Healing: What Nobody Talks About

“Don't be sad.” “Just move on.” “You shouldn't feel this way. You have everything.” Ever heard these before? Healing has no universal “right way,” nor does it come with directions. Healing is a personalized experience that nobody can truly outline for you besides yourself.

Healing is a forever project

Healing is a lifelong journey. A common misconception is that healing’s final result is overall acceptance, forgotten feelings or trauma and an overall notion of a nonexistent past. Even though it’s possible to move on from an event that ignited such healing, that’s not always the case. As I mentioned before, not all healing warrants acceptance, a wiped memory and an ordinary continuation of life unscathed. Nobody should feel obligated to heal in such a uniform way, as everyone has experienced different life-altering events. Nobody understands you better than yourself.

Healing is also not all rainbows and sunshine. Working on yourself is a forever project that takes jumping into an uncomfortable void. Figures — being uncomfortable is not always a pleasant time, but that's the point. Healing is not a linear process, nor is it always comforting.

Then why do so many people make healing seem almost fun? From personal soul searching, I can tell you that healing is far more than scented candles, meditating and drinking water. I’d say it's easier to support an all-around positive idea than going in-depth with the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good, the bad & the ugly

Whether you are moving on from grieving, heartbreak, toxic relationships, abusive situations, mentally draining environments, breaking out of a bad habit or working on self-improvement; stepping into a new normal is uncomfortable and scary. With that being said, breaking out of cycles can be difficult. No, it is not so easy to “just move on.” Trust me, I know, and so do many other people who’ve faced beginning a healing process they’d wished to rather avoid.

Healing is not perfect. It’s the constant state of recognizing you’re not OK and working on not only feeling better but living with your experience. It’s adopting new ways to cope, experimenting until you get a groove of things again, losing yourself, finding yourself and sometimes experiencing things even worse or more beautiful, which puts things into perspective. The process can include the lowest forms of self-deprecation, as well as backtracking and following up one traumatizing situation with another. However, the bad leads to the good, such as learning experiences, strength and bravery in being vulnerable again.

Jessica Basallo, a 21-year-old international studies senior, underwent what she described as a traumatic breakup, not only because of the length of the five-year-long relationship, but also the effect the relationship had on her identity. Basallo felt that it shaped who she was as an adult, so she, therefore, felt utterly lost after the breakup. Her healing process juggled isolation, self-blame, weight loss, unattachment-style relationships, loss of friends and family and overall hopeless frustration. Within three years, Basallo coped with her anger, sadness and self-hate through new jobs, classes, creating a new relationship that showed her new elements of love, rebuilding trust within herself and others, setting better boundaries and avoiding self-destruction to the best of her ability.

“I used to think there was one right way to heal, but I’ve learned there isn't,” said Basallo. Through her self-reflection, she found that there are moments that still feel heavy in spirit, especially aspects believed to have been healed.

Overall, healing does not have to be a solo journey. An outside perspective and guidance can also help transform your emotional gears. Basallo agrees, as, in the current time, she will continue her healing journey in a new direction with therapy and a psychiatrist for a push in a better direction.

Kailee Guzman, a 20-year-old Miami Photographer, experienced abuse from a trusted relationship. Her healing journey has taken two years and has not been one of full-blown peace. She explained her healing process in stages: self-deprecating behavior, repeating toxic cycles of abusive relationships, realizing she deserves better and finally not blaming herself for her experiences but using them as her strength. Through her healing experiences, Guzman shared, “I'm grateful for my healing process. I've learned a lot. It's created who I am today. It helped me buckle down on naiveness and allowed me to take accountability for my actions and overall made me wiser.”

Guzman partakes in meditating, morning stretches, tea drinking and constant on-foot activity as her job being a photographer, but through all the outside exertions, she implores that it’s of utmost importance to work on the inner you, no matter how long it takes. She expressed that getting worked up about your experiences is OK, but you have to keep pushing. Guzman is a vivid example of how not all healing piggybacks on acceptance of those who wronged you. You do not have to accept your abuser, but you can instead accept your feelings towards the event and work thereafter to make it your strength through healing. Being angry is OK. Being upset is OK. You are valid in all of your feelings.

Your feelings are valid

In the words of Seeding Sovereignty, a community-building organization, “Healing can be loud or it can be quiet. You are entitled to your anger, your sadness and your softness while you navigate the process of healing from trauma. Just remember to be kind to yourself, because you deserve that above all else.”

Trauma comes in a variety of different forms. Sometimes it comes in abuse, other times in upbringing. It comes as the ending of a cycle and the beginning of a new one. The healing process for each experience is different as is per person. In the same way that we tend to bask in our joy, we must embrace our healing. We will forever be finding ourselves, healing our inner child, transforming into a more aware and better self and collecting memories and experiences both good and bad. Healing may not always be fun. It can be lonely, dark and frustrating, but it reaps benefits you will never grasp unless you take on the journey of unconformity. Sometimes, the healing process is not meant to be finalized but instead, be a lifelong project of living with your experience. But above everything, remember it is in your right to cry for hours if needed, be all consumingly angry one minute and chirpy the next and have hiccups down the road. Nobody gets to define your experience and emotions besides you.