It’s that time of year again. The time when we are reflecting on the past year, things we were able to accomplish, and things we wished we started but didn’t. This is also the time when we see other people speaking about their goals for the new year. Usually, we see lists that are relationship goals, financial goals, and/or career goals. But you rarely see a goal saying, “I want to focus on healing from past trauma to start the new year fresh.” Because let’s face it, healing is more complicated than meditation and wishing the pain away. Healing is hard but necessary. When you want to set intentions in your healing, it is going to take some inner work.
This month I picked up Alex Elle’s latest best-selling book, How to Heal. It is a 4-part book filled with wellness tips, meditation exercises, journal prompts, and testimonials from other celebrities on their healing journeys such as Tabitha Brown and Luvvie Jones. In the book, Elle described healing as a journey that is a forever process. You are never fully healed and that is okay. When someone is healing from years and years of pain, bad habits, and toxic mindsets, that kind of journey takes time, patience, and acceptance of oneself. Elle also talks about healing is not a one size fits all process. While certain steps may work for others, they may not work for you. So it is important to start your healing with general steps to get to where you want to go. Personally, this book taught me a lot about how to be intentional in my healing, but three main lessons stood out to me. Hopefully, these lessons are helpful to you too.
Make Peace with The Past
In How We Heal, Elle touches on how our old stories or past mistakes take a toll on us. We focus on the bad more than we focus on the good sometimes, without even realizing it. The same goes for when we tend to self-reflect. It is easier to focus on the things we haven’t done instead of focusing on the things we have done. No matter how big or small. Why? Because when we have not forgiven ourselves from the past, we put pressure on ourselves to be perfect. But with healing, perfection is not allowed, and forgiveness is the solution. Forgiveness forces you to look at yourself in all its rawness and face the pain you thought you would never feel again. From there, you can accept all of your imperfections and prioritize learning from your mistakes instead of punishing yourself for them. So next time, when you are self-reflecting, there is the acknowledgement of good and bad. But more of the good. It is hard to look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself of things you have done when you weren’t at your best. I get it. But to truly become a better person and have a more positive mindset towards the future, you must make peace with ALL of it. No matter how dark your past was.
Settling Is No Longer the Safest Option
Change can be terrifying. When you are used to something familiar to you, you get comfortable. In How We Heal, Elle reiterates that healing is not supposed to be comfortable. Healing is about embracing the beauty in being uncomfortable. If you want to intentionally heal, you can no longer rely on the same routine or the same mindset to play it safe. You are doing yourself a disservice in your growth to settle for things when you know you deserve more. Most of the time when people do settle, it is a survival technique to protect themselves from rejection and disappointment which is completely understandable. But the benefit of being comfortable with uncomfortability is building up the courage to believe in yourself and not worry about the outcome. You can reassure yourself that you have made it through challenges before and are strong enough to face new ones. It’s important to know that it is okay to be a little scared of the unknown. But your job is to have faith and go after the life you want. So, with practice, your “what if doesn’t work” will turn into “what if it does work”. You must bet on yourself and embrace the uncomfortableness of change. Make a frenemy of it.
Start Finding Your Voice
Let me ask you this. If someone were to ask you, “Who are you without the titles?” What would you say? What would your answer be when you strip down from the labels society has put on you or the labels you have put on yourself? In How We Heal, Elle mentions that in healing, you will have to go through a period of asking yourself hard questions. For example, what brings you the most fear? Why does ____ bring you joy? What do you want to love more about yourself and how are you going to do it? We can lose sight of ourselves in the sea of noise with social media and societal expectations. So, in healing, it’s imperative to find your voice, so you can block all the noise out. Knowing your voice gives you the confidence to speak up for yourself and tell others how to love you. Your voice will also help with setting boundaries with things or people that do not align with who you are. Knowing how to say No to things that you know do not benefit your emotional well-being, is a next-level superpower. Whether you are reinventing yourself or falling back in love with whom you used to be, finding your voice is critical to setting goals for your future. It sets the blueprint for being unapologetic to your truest self and how you support yourself as you continue to grow.
It’s Time to Jump
Starting to intentionally heal is so much more than a 5-step course. It is about full dedication and commitment to facing the dark times and shining through them. I challenge you to start your first steps in healing however you need to start, and take time to learn yourself again. You may be surprised and see how much of a BAUCE you are when you give yourself the time to confront the main things that have been holding you back.
It is a slow and ongoing journey to become a better version of yourself. But it is so worth it.