Will I ever heal? That’s a question I have thought about often when looking at my own life. My life is not perfect and neither is yours. We all have emotional trauma, illness, or some sort of challenge from past injuries or relationships or losses. The question is; how do you get over the emotional scars that life leaves in its wake? I’ve finally come to a conclusion and although you may not love my answer; don’t give up and walk away, read this until the end!
In short, nope, I don’t think we ever really “heal”. I’ve read a lot of books on “healing”, I’ve listened to a lot of radio psychologist talk about this very subject, I even went so far as to grind out a college degree in psychology while pregnant with Rowan and finished my degree during the first year of his life, all in the pursuit of figuring out if “healing” is possible? Some say you can. Some try to show you the “way”. Some want you to believe that getting over your emotional trauma is essential to happiness and than you feel like a failure when you realize that the pain is still present. Please, stop torturing yourself for being human because I’m here to tell you – you won’t ever truly heal…
Like a wound that scars over, the pain will not be as deep, but the evidence is always there, a stark and blatant reminder of the intense trauma of when the injury first happened, and when someone slams a hammer into that old wound, it will hurt just as bad as the day it happened. Our hearts, our souls, are very much laced with scars from what life has dealt to us, and although the pain subsides, the evidence will always be there. I can hear what you are asking me now, “Sarah, how do you move on?” “If you never really heal, what hope do I have of being happy, living my life to the fullest despite the sadness that creeps in from all those emotional scars?” Well, here’s my answer, because despite my belief that healing won’t happen; I do believe that choosing to be ok is the answer to happiness.
Let me give you an example. Every. Single. Day. The loss of my mom from cancer cuts me like a knife. On May 14th was the 10-year anniversary of her passing and I awoke that morning with the same feeling that hit me 10 years ago, maybe with even a bit more raw emotion. I cried for my mom in the shower that morning, angry that she wasn’t there to help me learn how to be a good parent to my boys, frustrated that I couldn’t call her to tell her how much I love her, desperate to hear her voice and to feel her warm embrace. I got out of the shower, pulled myself together, and like every day since the day she died, I made a choice. That particular day, and everyday, I choose to take care of myself, to meditate and to be thankful for all that I have. I choose to hug my little family close, and to take the boys outside and play in the sunshine, and to laugh with them. I choose to go to work, to hug my clients and to help them have a wonderful session in the gym. I do my best to fill them all with confidence, to build their emotional and physical strength, and to send them on there way, healthier and happier than when they came through the door. I choose to nourish my body with amazing food and I choose to go to bed at a decent time, curled up with a good book. I choose to find solace in the arms of my husband who counts on me and loves me. Everyday I choose, despite sadness, despite loss, despite pain that’s very very real – I choose to be very very happy.
Does that mean I am healed? No. But I am ok. I will live my life to its fullest. I will miss my mom and I will cry for her, and I’ll deal with other trauma and grief that I’ve experienced in my life, but I will not wallow. I will not let this scar be the only part of who I am. I have many scars. I have many demons. But I know how to quiet them. I know how to choose. Some of the happiest people I know are those who have suffered the most but these people somehow understand this important lesson that I’m trying to share with you – we always have options. We always can choose. We always can decide to be inspiring instead of withering. Don’t plan on healing from all of your emotional wounds, that will just end with disappointment and depression when you realize that your losses, your scars, your memories of life’s toils will never disappear – that’s what makes us human – but like embers in the ashes we can still shine bright and make this world a better place. We can teach our children to feel all the feels but still be happy. We can be ok, because we choose to be.
Please stop trying to heal, start choosing to live and remember that those who truly succeed at life will hold their scars up proudly and will find strength in their sadness and hope in their defeat.