Humans 101

You Cannot Heal Your Way Out of Being Human

And you were never meant to

You cannot heal your way to a world where negativity doesn’t exist.

It always will.

You cannot heal your way into the most physically perfect version of yourself.

That’s not who you were born and built to be.

You cannot heal your way out of every worry, issue, struggle, grief, sadness, or down day.

That’s not the point of being alive.

The point of healing is not to return to a place where everything is perfect. Instead, it is to begin to develop the ability to respond to what’s imperfect. You cannot heal your way out of being human, and you were never supposed to.

As empowered individuals, we like to believe every feeling or experience that isn’t fully positive is just another trigger. If we try, we can talk, self-work, and therapy our way out of ever experiencing them again.

We believe we can cure ourselves of negative emotions because, to a degree, it’s true. And we know it’s true because we’ve seen it in practice.

But we are not meant to spend our lives discovering broken facets of ourselves that simply need correcting. Sad, disappointing, or nerve-wracking events are not always blocks or barriers.

Sometimes, what we perceive as imperfection is part of the human experience — and that’s exactly what it’s meant to be.

We imagine healing as though it’s a way to sterilize ourselves into an unfeeling state. In reality, healing is the ability to feel fully and freely — and to know that no single emotional experience defines us forever.

Healing is not the idea that we might will our way into physical perfection. Instead, it’s stepping into the glory of who and how we are, and loving that as deeply as we possibly can.

Healing is not the practice of slowly disassociating from every single person who frustrates us until we’ve isolated ourselves. Instead, it’s the practice of communicating through frustration, stating our needs before we hit our breaking point, and accepting that tension is a natural part of human relationships — one that we can all better navigate.

We are not meant to spend our lives discovering broken facets of ourselves that simply need correcting.

Healing is not the hope that we may one day reach a place where nothing bothers us. To get there, we’d have to withdraw so severely we wouldn’t ever be presented with the opportunity to try and fail, to be seen and vulnerable, to try new things, to be challenged, and to grow.

Healing is not about trying to remove everything that is imperfect, but about responding to what is imperfect with more understanding, more clarity, and more strength.

If you are an ambitious person, you have probably spent your life believing that you can amend the insufficient parts of you.

This is a paradox. As you free yourself from your insufficiencies, you chain yourself down. If you’re always correcting yourself, always believing that you can evolve into something better, you are never enough.

No matter what you do or who you are, please know this:

There will be bad reviews. There will be naysayers. There will be those who are dissatisfied with your work. There will be mindless comments at best, and cruel comments at worst. There will be people who project their brokenness onto the contours of your scars, and you will feel as though someone is trying to cut you open all over again.

There will be down days, sometimes for good reason and sometimes not.

There will be hours when you need to simply lay down and mourn, and others when you need to take a walk, to shake off a mood that doesn’t have any discernible source and doesn’t need to.

There will be people who drive you to the brink of your sanity and then bring you back again. There will be relationships that test you in ways you’ve never been tested before.

There will be moments of nerves, moments of pain, moments of massive disappointment when something you’ve spent your life dreaming of doesn’t turn out the way you’d hoped.

No one piece has to define you.

True for every single one of us, and it will be true forever.

The negative review will be crowded out by the positive ones. The cruel person will be followed by another who says, “You changed my life.” For every person who tries to project their pain onto your wounds, there will be a dozen others who offer you tools to heal.

For every down day, there will be far more peak experiences, blissful highs, and cinematic nights. Even the hardest feelings will crest and crash, and even the most dramatic of crises will fade over time. You won’t remember the hours you spent crying or walking off your emotions. What you’ll remember is what you learned. What you’ll remember is what you saw. What you’ll remember is gratitude.

For everything we cannot control in life, there is so much more we can.

This, of course, includes our response, which is really everything we have.

We do not need to correct every single setback. We do not need to avoid the down days altogether.

To clear the muddy water, we must often just leave it alone. To succeed, we must fail. To be beautiful, we must embrace our uniqueness and see ourselves as enough. To learn, we must try. To be better, we must brave our inner storms.

We are not meant to heal our way out of being human.

We are meant to allow being human to heal us.

For more of my writing, follow me on Instagram, or check out my books, 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think, and The Mountain Is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage Into Self-Mastery

Author of 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think and six other collections. Visit briannawiest.com to shop for books and more.

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