What embarking on a healing journey has taught me
The lens through which we view the world, the way we come to understand people and things, and many of the past hurts we carry can be traced back to our childhood. Confronting and working through past pain now is in our best interest if we want to heal and release any hurt we’ve been carrying. For many people working on healing from within, it can make you realize truths about your past that you didn’t understand before. It can teach you about why you think and act the way you do. Why you may carry certain beliefs and stick to certain habits. Why you may attract or gravitate towards certain people. Or why you have the fears and worries that you have.
One thing I know for certain is that inner work is hard. It’s uncomfortable. It’s emotionally and physically draining. It can be re-traumatizing because you are reliving moments and experiences you have buried and pushed aside. It is no wonder people often focus on changing external things (ie. getting a haircut, buying a new outfit, or trying to get fit) when looking for a change. However, nothing outside of you will fill the void(s) that exist within you. Buckling down and working on your soul is the only answer. As difficult as it can be at times, the more you reconnect with yourself you will come to better understand yourself.
A healing journey is also not always a linear path. You may revert back to old thought patterns and self-destructive habits. You may know what you need to do but stick to the familiar. A lot of this process is taking one step forward and two steps back. One day you may practice gratitude, pray, stick to your goals, and feel at peace, but the next day you may feel incredibly low, unmotivated, and revert back to old tendencies. Not being hard on yourself is important during this time. You cannot change by wishing to become this idealized version of yourself. In order to grow, you must first accept where you’re at, accept your weaknesses, and accept your brokenness. This is the first step to change. Then you can slowly begin to take the necessary steps to improve yourself.
What I know now that I didn’t know at the start of this journey is that I am not fixed in time. The negative, self-limiting beliefs I’ve carried with me for years I can let go of. Past hurts, I can release. I can reinvent my life whenever I chose. I have more power than I recognize. I can transcend my worries, fears, and doubts. I am more than my goals and dreams. Besides, when I’m constantly in a perpetual state of trying to do and be, to create and accomplish, to build the life of my dreams, and to be successful it can make me become unhealthy and exhausted. Sometimes in the pursuit of our goals, we constantly look to the future and never live in the now. Never appreciate the process. I’m also learning the importance of having balance in my life, in everything that I do. Having a proper focus on what your true purpose can be will help you.
Your purpose should never revolve around obtaining success, money, a dream job, or being married. Your purpose is to worship Allah and work on developing a strong link with Him. Everything else comes second. So, take it easy. You don’t have to have your life all figured out right now. After all, in the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience”.
Last but not least, there is a lot of work to be done. You may be unpacking childhood trauma, grief, or coming to terms with a mental illness. You may be confronting addiction, procrastination, and other self-sabotaging behaviors. You may be battling low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, or shame. You may be suffering from loneliness, heartbreak, or feeling a lack of purpose. Or you may be feeling used and taken advantage of by others. Breathe, again, breathe. You’ve been through a lot and you’ve got some healing to do. Stop being so hard on yourself. You will not change and achieve everything all at once. Make small, incremental changes over time, as this is more likely to stick. Making big, drastic changes all at once will only leave you feeling overwhelmed and more likely to quit. Also, don’t expect to change overnight. You’ve fostered and created an environment for certain thoughts, habits, and belief systems to take hold in your life. Be patient. Over time you will see the fruits of your labor if you are consistent. In the end, in order to elevate, you must do that which your mind, body, and soul are unfamiliar with.
“Your soul is just like your enemy, once it finds you serious, it obeys you. If it finds weakness from you, it will take you as a prisoner” (Imam Ibn al Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah Rahimahuallah).