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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

The Many Facets of Healing

Apr 29, 2022 09:31AM ● By Meagan Good
The concept of healing may be an abstract concept in some ways, and can even invoke a sense of judgment, so it’s important to recognize that everyone’s journey and goals are different. Healing mentally and emotionally is an internal process, so it’s not easily measured, but there are some general characteristics related to the concept of connection to self, others and something greater. Pain often occurs because of broken connections, so healing must take place by repairing them.

Having a loving connection to self: It is important to have a healthy and loving relationship with ourself. For so many mental health struggles, the deeper issue often surrounds self-hatred, self-doubt, low self-worth or lack of trust in self. When we feel these emotions, they often manifest as depression, impulsivity or emotional instability. On the other hand, healthy connection to self often looks like:

·   Engaging in self-care as needed. Not just chocolate and spa-days, but making sure we are meeting the needs of our body, mind, soul and spirit on a regular basis, and attuned enough to our own self to recognize our needs.

·   The ability to sit quietly, compassionately and curiously with our own thoughts. Dr. Caroline Leaf calls this the “thinker mindset”, and many call it mindfulness, or noticing a thought or feeling that arises and staying with it with grace and kindness, instead of judgment.

·   Giving ourself grace and forgiveness for mistakes. As a human being, we are bound to make them. None of us are perfect, but we can learn from our mistakes, make amends and move on.

Creating and maintaining healthy connections to others: “Secure attachment” is the therapeutic term for safety, attunement and responsiveness in a relationship. Secure (or insecure) attachment is developed in childhood through consistently having our needs met by our caregivers, having protection to explore new things, being soothed by caregivers when upset and attunement (being seen and heard) by our caregivers. Inevitably, parents don’t do this perfectly. Secure attachment can also be earned or learned through healing experiences later in life. Secure attachment allows us to form healthy connections to others, but sometimes we don’t know what healthy relationships even look like. They may not have been modeled for us, or we may have experienced unhealthy relationships that have wounded us. Some characteristics of healthy relationships between healed people include:

·   Vulnerability, transparency and authenticity with others. In safe relationships, we don’t feel the need to hide or wear a mask. Brene Brown has much to say on these topics on YouTube or at the library. Her work on these abstract concepts is inspiring and extremely helpful for those struggling in these areas.

·   Respecting emotional and physical boundaries of everyone in the relationship. No manipulation or control, but allowing others to be themselves, and us to be ourself. We are responsible for managing our expectations and meeting our own needs so that we don’t create unfair expectations for others to meet those needs for us.

·   Being able to ask for our needs to be met. Sometimes we avoid this because it is vulnerable; "What if they say no?" This is not to be confused with being needy, which is a symptom of insecure attachment known as codependence. But even secure individuals have emotional needs that depend on a healthy relationship. We aren’t created to live independently of others, but interdependently with others.

Having a connection to something greater than ourself: For some, this is a specific connection to God or a higher power; for others, this is a feeling of interconnectedness with the world. But this characteristic of healing takes us from being stuck focused on self to where we can really make a difference in the world around us in the ways that are important to us.

·   Spontaneous and intentional gratitude is closely related to joy. This isn’t about toxic positivity or lying to ourself about a situation, but rather being able to see the silver lining or the lesson we can learn, or the good that came afterward. Noticing the good around us can do a lot of good for us.

·   Having a sense of purpose and not comparing that purpose with others’. Purpose can look like what we do or principles we live by, and can’t be defined by anyone but us. Whether our purpose is to stay at home and raise our children, start an international movement or live simply so that we can give generously, do it with our whole heart. Purpose is embodied in who we are.

·   Having faith. This looks different for everyone, but many studies demonstrate the physical, mental and emotional benefits of spirituality. Faith can be defined as believing in that which we cannot see. It requires a boldness and vulnerability that helps develop courage and resilience to face whatever comes our way. Most important to our faith is making it about a relationship, not just religion and tradition.

Connection is key to so many areas of healing. The amazing thing about all of these characteristics is that we can change and grow in each. They are not static, unchanging traits. Start by exploring the connections in each area and choosing small steps toward greater connection each day. This might start as simply as looking in the mirror with compassion, texting a friend we haven’t seen in a while or whispering a quick prayer of thanks. There is real hope for healing, and it is worth the time and energy spent to develop that connection with ourself, others and our spiritual side.

Meagan Good, MA, LPC, NLT-2, is a counselor and founder of Take Heart Counseling & Equine Assisted Therapy, located at 699 Wooltown Rd., in Wernersville.

For more information, call 717-917-7137 or visit