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How to Start Living Again (Advice on Healing).
Dear Andrew. . .
First of all, I want to thank you. In your words, I feel understood and I often can change my perspective about so many thoughts and emotions I feel. In you, I find an inspiration for my soul.
The question that I’d like to ask you today is: often after I forgive, the pain persists and it does not allow me to live life to the fullest. How do you heal from the pain?
With love, Lucrezia
Thank you so much for the kind message. I am happy my words are helping you and you are finding inspiration in them. As a writer, I cannot wish for anything more.
Regarding your question, in order to start the healing process, we often have to take a step back from how we used to live. We need to find a quiet place where we can redefine what living “life to the fullest” now means to us.
Just like an animal that has been wounded, when we have been hurt, we need to retreat to give ourselves time to lick our wounds. We need to go to a safe home, away from the hustle and bustle, where we can assess our injuries. This retreat is not a permanent destination; it is simply a means to rehabilitate ourselves. By taking refugee, whether it be alone or with a select few, we allow ourselves time to come back to the world, when we are ready, in a more genuine way. We are permitting ourselves to rediscover who we are and to reimagine how we want our new life to look, sound and feel.
Sometimes, the first step towards healing looks like a hibernation on the outside. It may look like we are slowing down, almost to a stop, and breaking away from the active life we have grown accustomed to. To an observer, it may appear that we are becoming isolated, but on the contrary, we are merely re-centering ourselves. We are finding a footing on the ground that can better support us. We are stepping aside from the busy road so we can draw better blueprints for the journey we are destined to embark on.
Pain lasts longer than it should when we are determined to keep walking, despite the brokenness we feel underneath. Just like physical injury, an injury to the heart or soul also requires downtime to heal. Our pain becomes magnified when we refuse to pump the brakes. Most especially, pain can feel endless when we hold on too tightly to the way our lives used to be, or when we become overly attached to the road we have been traveling on. When we do these things, our wounds stay open and they become susceptible to further injury.
Healing can be challenging because the temptations of life do not stop. It is enticing to pile on more things at work or to attend every party and dinner we are invited to when we are grieving. It is alluring because, like a pain killer, these things can mask the heartbreak and anguish we are feeling inside. They can make us forget, at least for a short while, the problems we are struggling with.
Instead of filling our schedules to the brim, we need to give ourselves time to find a new home. We need to listen to the voice inside of us that is begging to be heard. We need to put an end to the same old story we have been reading and to rewrite it in a different way; in a way that is more fitting to where we are now.
Therefore, just like physical pain, damage on the inside requires careful attention to heal. Often, this means we must pull back, at least for a short while, from how we used to live. We must pull back so we can rejuvenate ourselves and build up our strength to come back stronger. By doing this, we give ourselves the opportunity to find a new life; a life we recognize as our own and one that we want to be full participants in again.
Questions for Andrew?
If you want to ask me something, feel free to respond to this email or any others from me, or you can also ask me via Instagram.
Remember sometimes there is no right answer. Sometimes the most important thing is simply being curious enough to ask the question.
Last week, I released a new podcast episode, titled Finding Hope.
To listen to the episode, click here.
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