Advice, Self Help

Layers

Healing is a painful process!

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I awoke from a dream and it has me in a healing phase, AGAIN. Have you ever noticed that there are some things that require more healing than others? Does it seem like as soon as you heal from this now you have to heal from that? I was never taught about the complexities of healing. I was raised by strong black women who taught me to be a strong black woman. When something goes wrong or you get hurt, you get back up and keep going, is the lesson I was taught. The problem with this lesson is that it only works for certain situations, it’s not a universal remedy. There came a hurt that I wasn’t able to get up and move on from, I was stuck and paralyzed, with no idea of how to find the healing that would free me.

Instruction on how to heal was never a lecture I got in my grandma’s kitchen. Yes, she told me I would get my heartbroken, friends may betray me, and family could be come enemies but after every scenario she said, “you get up, shake that shit off cause one monkey don’t stop no show, get you another one and keep on dancing!” Sound advice but she failed to tell me what to do when the hurt was so loud that I couldn’t hear the dance music, when I couldn’t find another dance partner, or when I didn’t have the capacity to even walk and surely not dance. How do I heal when my body is dysfunctional and disappointing? How do I heal when my mind and emotions get stuck in a loop of grief, depression, and anxiety? How do I heal when my greatest heart’s desire is stolen from me by an invisible thief? These are the things that I am healing from and it isn’t easy but it is certainly painful.

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The Layers

As wise and brilliant as my grandma was there were some lessons she couldn’t teach me because she had never been taught. She wasn’t able to tell me that some hurts require layers of healing because no one had ever told her. I am learning as I move through phases of healing the importance of each layer and it’s impact on my overall healing. I believe the three most important layers are acknowledge, accept, assimilate.

Acknowledge

This may be the most challenging layer because this is where you have to face the reality of your situation. Acknowledging that something hurtful has happened to you requires you to face the entire situation and all parties involved. You can’t just “shake” it off “as my grandma would advise. In acknowledging that something has happened, you put yourself in position for liberation and healing.

Accept

Once you have acknowledged your hurt, you have to accept the fact that you have been hurt. I honestly believe that it takes some of us so long to heal because we refuse to accept that we have been hurt. When we were being taught to be strong black women, somehow the message subliminally told us that if we admit to being hurt, it makes us weak. One of the most heroic things a woman can do is grasp the truth of her own hurts, to acknowledge their existence and stay open to the feelings that come. To deny a hurt is to give it power, to accept a hurt is to empower yourself.

Assimilate

In this phase of healing, you understand that you have been hurt, you courageously embrace the hurt, and now you move into adopting practices that will help you heal further. Healing will always require change and each phase of healing will require more changes. If you aren’t open to change, you aren’t ready to heal. This may mean you have to distance yourself from certain people or situations, it may mean trading in the comfort of complacency for the faith in the unknown. If we are to truly heal, it is necessary to make shifts in our thinking, behaviors, and surroundings. Otherwise, you will find yourself experiencing the same hurts over and over again. Assimilation makes you accountable for your healing. For example, you break up with Chuck because he cheated but you still trying to hangout with him. If you want to heal, you have to let him go. Healing will require you to forgive and release those whom have hurt you, including yourself.

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There isn’t a one size fits all to healing and every situation will require different healing. What I have learned from illness, heartbreak, and betrayals is that there are layers to healing. In some cases you will heal from the hurt and then you will have to heal because of the person that hurt you.  Then there will be those cases where you can do as my grandma suggested and just,“shake it off.” Whatever layer of healing that you find yourself on, trust the process, forgive, stay open to what you are feeling, and know that embracing a hurt doesn’t make you weak, it’s  the stuff that real strong black women are made of. Onward♥

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