This article takes a harsher tone and uses coarser language than I normally would take in a writing piece. I’ve chosen not to edit them out to help convey the gravity of my vantage point on this topic.
In this wonderful and amazing world of metaphysical adventure, I sometimes notice some things that truly disturb me. Most of these things seem to revolve around healing. Specifically, the observations that disturb me are centered around people’s expectations of healing, and the willingness some people have to chime in to explain how someone else’s healing process can be improved. I feel the need to share some hard truths that aren’t always addressed in metaphysical or spiritual circles.
For starters, someone else’s healing process is none of your business. If someone is gracing you with enough trust to share their healing process, then feel blessed. If they aren’t asking your opinion, then please assume that it isn’t welcome, warranted, or helpful. If you are invited to share in their healing journey, remember that you are a guest – not the host. Stay in your lane.
This isn’t to say that you can’t share your perspective or insight – IF YOU ARE INVITED TO DO SO. Most of the time what’s needed most is a listening ear. Being able to talk things out can help the healing journey more than anything shared from an outside person. That simply can’t be done if when your loved one is trying to weigh their need to express themselves against the onslaught of opinion and directive (which they probably recognize as well meaning and from a place of love).
Here’s the truth that you already know from personal experience, but most likely need reminding about when it applies to someone else: Until a person is ready to listen to someone else’s perspective on their life, your opinion/insight/experience/etc. is most likely falling on deaf ears, no matter how brilliant and life changing it may be. What’s more, if you share your perspective when someone isn’t ready to hear it yet, your words stand a really good chance of becoming background noise. If your words become background noise, then no matter how many times you say it in however many different ways, your perspective will remain unrelatable. Don’t think that by saying your piece more frequently, more loudly, or more dramatically will make your perspective heard – it’s not about how you’re sharing! It’s about the timing of being able to accept and incorporate another person’s insight. All of the convincing in the world can’t make someone ready to hear and actually consider something when they aren’t ready to.
Let’s change the focus for moment here: What is your true motivation for sharing with your friend or loved one? Yes, I know it’s because you don’t like seeing them in pain or suffering.That’s a given. (If you did like to see them suffer, then you are sick sociopathic fuck that doesn’t deserve their friendship or adoration.) Why else? Does watching their journey evoke the feelings of your own struggles? Is your reaction from a place of fear on their behalf? Or do you just think that you can deal with their struggles better than they are at the moment?
A fear based reaction is still a fear based reaction, regardless of how founded your fears may be. Fear does not support healing. If you actually desire a person’s healing, projecting your fears onto them is not going to be supportive. It’s natural to worry; we all do it (some more than others). While energetically, this isn’t the most supportive thing you can do, in the end a little bit of worry isn’t something that’s terribly detrimental. It’s actually perfectly natural. It becomes detrimental when you let the worry into the driver’s seat, and feel the need to for someone else to have the same level of concern as you. When you worry to this degree, on some level you aren’t trusting that the person you’re worrying about is able to take care of themselves. What most people going through healing really need is your confidence, not your concern.
If you are reacting from a place that evokes your own fears, or you think that you’re better equipped to handle the situation, then it’s really time to let them focus on their own healing journey while you work on your own. These two perspectives boil back down to ego, and frequently ego is rearing it’s head to hide an area of abrasion that you could still use some work on. Notice that I’m not necessarily saying that you’re wrong – you may ACTUALLY be better equipped to handle the situation that they are going through. That said, it still isn’t your journey, and no true healing is done by another’s hand. Empathizing and letting the person know that you’ve survived a similar healing journey is appropriate. This let’s them know where to turn once they are ready to ask for help or direction. Giving the person unsolicited direction on how to ‘best cope’ – not ok, probably not welcome, and likely not even heard.
Another point that seems like a natural response is to try to distract the person from what’s going on in their life. This sometimes works, and many times it does not. When it fails on an epic scale is usually when a person chooses to try a distraction because another person’s healing moment is making them uncomfortable. Guess what – a lot of shit makes a lot of people uncomfortable! If someone trusts you enough to bring it up with you, then don’t shut them down because it makes you a bit squeamish. (Or if you have to, own up to it and just say that you’re uncomfortable talking about whatever was making you feel that way. If they have the balls to talk about what they’re going through, you should at least have the respect to speak plainly about how it makes you feel.)
So what can you do for someone that’s at a tough point in their healing journey? I know that it seems like your hands are completely tied, but healing and growth are messy, sticky, crazy and generally fucked up situations. There’s nothing easy about either experience. That said, there are things you can do. Listen. Empathize. Support their ability to take charge of their journey. Love them. Call them out on when they cross boundaries (which frequently happens while we are in a moment of healing/growth crisis). Sit through the uncomfortable parts. Forgive. Hold space. While this may all seem passive, it’s actually a huge token of effort for most people.
We’ve all had moments in life where we’ve been through something that makes us feel like we were just sandpapered in all of our vulnerable bits. We have all taken journeys through healing and expansion that affected pretty much every aspect of our lives. And yes, we may look back and think ‘I wish that someone would have said this to me when I was going through that part of my journey……’ Here’s the only catch – would you have listened? Would you have accepted someone’s unsolicited advice? Would you be able to recognize the wisdom in someone else’s words when you were in the depths of your journey? (And if you categorically say yes, then I’m going to give you a sarcastic round of applause while contemplating whether your just a fucking liar or if you are truly that deluded.)
It’s human nature to challenge. It’s natural to have to ‘learn the hard way’. There’s nothing wrong with ‘learning the hard way’, as long as you’re learning. None of us are immune to either side of this struggle. We all have loved ones that we want to help, and I’ve done more than my fair share of spouting off my advice from the bottom of heart. My point is that you can’t really help until the person is ready for it (and they get to decide when they are ready for it). And if you feel that it is your civic duty to espouse your wisdom whether it’s been invited or not, you aren’t really looking to help a friend. You’re basically looking to found a cult based around your righteous indignation.
Happy healing, and Brightest Blessings.