It's near impossible to heal yourself.
Humans need to feel safe, accepted and a deep sense of belonging in order to heal. In our world, it is getting harder and harder to find these spaces and relationships.
We spend a lot of our time in the mindset of competition, scarcity, and exhaustion. So caught up in the doing of life, we leave little time for being. Being present. Being mindful. Being kind.
We have packed agendas, full days, and booked calendars. We schedule time to play, to make love, and to laugh with friends. I mean really, that's messed up! Right?!
Other people and relationships are essential to a happy and healthy life. We need hugs, laughter, and a shoulder to cry on. We can't get by on "likes" and emojis alone.
Our deep inner pain most often comes from some deep sense of not belonging, when we really boil it down, that's what most of our childhood traumas and pain mean to us.
I know I am not alone in feeling like my feelings were not welcome in my house growing up. I was labeled a "crybaby" when I was very young, which is unfortunate because I also grew up in a house that was scary and unpredictable. I had plenty of reasons to feel scared, unsafe, and alone. This label of "crybaby" followed me into adulthood. It was a family "joke" that I never felt was funny. It hurt a lot. it made me feel like my pain was not something to be shared with the rest of the world, not even my closest family members. So I learned to cut myself off from my own pain. If being a "crybaby" wasn't acceptable, I could see that sucking it up and powering through were acceptable. Talking about your feelings certainly was not. Never.
And so I learned to be the person who handles her own business. The girl who doesn't cry.
Eventually, when I was an adult and living with my former partner, he would tease me for crying in the bathroom when I got really upset. But it was the only place that felt safe enough for me to cry. It was the one place where another person wouldn't interrupt or judge me. That was 15 years ago now.
Over the last couple of years, I have done a lot of healing. I have cried a lot. Alone and with company. Mostly with my therapist and my partner. My partner has never shamed me for being sad. He has never acted annoyed or put out when I need a hug or just need to cry it out. He doesn't even mind it when I get snot on his shoulder. He loves me fully and completely. And this has allowed me to drop some of the shame and fear of being truly seen and heard. I feel like I belong. Like the world is a safer place for me to be fully human. I can be vulnerable.
I can do things like write this blog post.
I have been able to be honest and vulnerable with other people in my life, even strangers. I have been able to feel safe and confident enough to develop new friends and relationships. I have been able to see that one of my callings is helping other people heal and connect. I'm not sure what that will look like, but I know I'll figure it out.
Love and compassion are healing. Compassion is necessary for relationships and for community.
The good news is that we can each be a beacon of love and compassion. We can start with ourselves and our closest loved ones. See them with new eyes, curious eyes. We can offer them our attention and open hearts. It's as simple and as difficult as giving our full attention.