By Devika Pathak
Artwork by Diya Sengupta
What does it mean to be healed? To me, healing is about restoring a balance that
may or may not have previously existed but also, to put whole again. We’ve all
heard the phrase that time heals anything however I think that there is a more
active process to healing as well.
There is a strong tradition of energy healing in alternative medicine through
practices like energy exchanges and spiritual healing. I think that we often consider
healing in very convention terms, through the ideas of allopathic medicines and
physically ‘fixing’ parts of us that aren’t working ‘right’. However, healing goes a lot
deeper than modern medicine and actually connects back to the way we connect
with others, what we believe our place in society is and how we accept who we are.
There are so many things that need to fall in place before healing can even begin.
For example, recognising that you don’t feel whole. That there are pieces of yourself
that are missing or unreachable to you because of past events or thoughts that
circle in your mind. Each one of us is broken in our own way, and only once we
acknowledge what’s going wrong can we start to heal ourselves.
For many people, healing can be more clear. For those suffering from mental or physical trauma, there is a real and definite path that needs to be followed in order for someone to find some relief from their past experiences. This might be a combination of self-work and outside assistance such as therapy.
Personally, I’ve struggled with feelings of guilt for many years. I look back on
mistakes I’ve made through my life and am unable to let go or get over them,
thinking about them on an almost daily basis as a way of punishing myself for
making those mistakes. From the outside, it might seem simple. You could tell me to
just get over these things and move on and stop living in the past. However, as easy
as it is for me to compartmentalise certain things in my life – those experiences have
coloured the way I see myself and that shame is something that lines my insides
and settles on my skin every single day. Even when you consider an experience as
intangible as mine, and one so focused on my own way of thinking, there is still
healing that needs to happen.
Healing is easy to say but how do we put it into practice?
Find what brings you happiness
Although these few bright spots might not be enough to heal deep wounds, it’s
important to find happiness wherever you can. This might mean spending time with
people who make you laugh and smile, people who make you forget the things that
you spend time worrying about. Alternatively, it could also mean cutting out people,
things or experiences that don’t bring you happiness. Things that remind you of the
pain you’re feeling and bring unpleasantness to the surface. Identify where your
happiness truly lies and move in that direction.
This is one skill I still haven’t picked up! I feel like the more I punish myself, the
more I can remind myself never to make those mistakes again. However, what I
hadn’t realised is that the more I focus on my past, the less progress I can make
toward my future. Whether you made bad decisions, chose the wrong path or hurt
those who loved you; we all make mistakes. It’s what makes us so uniquely human
– these deep flaws and imperfections. Come to terms with the reasons behind your
actions and find a way to forgive yourself and move on. There is so much more to
live for if only you’d stop looking backwards.
For me, a big part of healing comes from meditation, exercise, yoga and pursuing a
life that is focused on wellness. This could mean eating foods that suit your body
type, breathing exercises that help you relax or ignoring your phone while you read.
Whatever your little ritual is, embrace it. Enjoy your own company and take a
minute to breathe, centre yourself and think clearly rather than making hasty
decisions and impulsive choices. All it takes is for us to step away for a few moments
to gain enough clarity to make choices that we will be proud of.
Healing is a journey. It starts when we are children and carries on through our lives.
The greatest gift you can give yourself is to learn to heal yourself. To find your scars, understand what gave birth to them and eradicating that negativity from your life. There is no shame in making mistakes, even if you make the same one over and over again. However, there is shame in not taking responsibility for your actions and trying to become a better version of yourself. So don’t look at your past trauma as failures but as little scars that you have the power to heal – everything takes time and healing is a lifelong journey. No matter how small your steps, each one is so important.
About the Author Devika Pathak is a writer, social media strategist and marketing consultant based in Mumbai. She has spent years moving around the world trying to find some semblance of home which she now does in Mumbai with her two dogs and love for reading, fitness, kindness and cookies.