Many of us have experienced trauma in some shape or form.
As we have journeyed through life, we carry it with us, and healing from it is not a flowery journey with the yoga mat, crystals, or meditation. It is difficult to face parts of the self that haven’t experienced love or compassion. Many of us grew up with distorted ideas of the self and relationships, and our traumas manifested themselves through behaviours of survival and protection. Even becoming aware of the patterns is enlightening, but change is not a straightforward case of “I love myself” and that’s it.
Of course, part of healing is letting go of the emotions and habits which no longer serve us. But by no means should it be neglecting or forgetting what happened. One will always remember what happened 5 years later, 10 years later, or 20 years later even. Maybe some of the wounds will be prevalent throughout our lives, and maybe our demons will often visit, but does this mean you’ve not healed if the memories and feelings arise from time to time?
No, it doesn’t! Is there such a thing as “I have healed?”
When you have been coping and surviving for most of your life, it won’t take just a day or month to let go of it all—it is a journey. And regardless of your spiritual beliefs, life will present itself in a manner that may often trigger such wounds. It doesn’t mean the universe is out to get you. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
Healing is a journey, not a destination—just like creating new habits, a new lifestyle, and new relationships take time and personal growth. One must go through the motions in all seasons for the fruits of their labour to be produced.
Despite what the self-help industry would have us believe, the journey of life is not a straight line. For example, many of us hold the trauma of not being understood, seen, heard, or witnessed. Part of healing is engaging in meaningful relationships that give space to our hearts. However, that takes time, and not everyone will want to give us that space. Regardless of our awareness of this, it can be triggering, and old wounds can rise to the surface, despite how long you have been working through old patterns and emotions. Now, this doesn’t mean it is all doom and gloom. The point is, triggers may arise from time to time, but our management of them can improve. Then, we can lead with meeting our needs and inviting those we love to meet them with us.
I have felt “not good enough” since I was a child. As a child who was emotionally abandoned, it has left me with this scar, which, at 23 years old, I still feel at times. The difference is there is an awareness now that my sense of self does not have to be attached to this feeling. However, despite the many affirmations I tell myself, the nurturing relationships in my life, and the change of behaviours, the “not good enough” feeling still arises. Recently, I realised this is a part of me that has not faced love for a long time, and the journey of returning to love is lifelong. Now, I don’t advocate for holding onto these emotions, but journeying through them and letting go of them is a process and the time is unknown—it requires intentional and conscious journeying through them.
Often, traumas can make us ask, “Is there something wrong with me?” But what if I told you traumas are a natural part of life? I think everyone has experienced trauma to some extent and no one has figured it out—we are all just trying our best to figure out what heals us.
I realised that I’ve been trying to “arrive,” meaning I was thinking to have healed is a destination that no longer requires me to journey. Thus, I wanted the feelings to go away immediately and not come back. But there is a beauty to these sorrows and traumas. There is knowledge gained through them: the wisdom of knowing more about ourselves, and what we want from our lives.
It’s good to set goals and have an idea of where we are headed, but the future is unknown—where you will be, the state you will be in, the feelings and thoughts you’ll experience in an hour, a day, a month, or a year—all unknown. All that exists is the now, this moment. What do you choose to do?
It is a wild and mysterious journey, so be easy on yourself. There is no destination you are supposed to have reached. You are where you are supposed to be, and when you look back, you’ll realise every step leads to the next, no matter how beautiful or ugly it was.