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What Does Healing Look Like to You?

Updated: Jul 10

Have you ever been in a position where you were unsure how to track your progress? Clients sometimes ask, “How do I know I’ve healed from this situation?”


Middle-aged man healing as he hugs his elementary school daughter at the beach, smiling.

The first step is always self-awareness. Often, we as humans feel that we moved on from a person or situation, but it is important to note that healing is more than just moving on. It is breaking free from unhealthy patterns that affect our mental health.


Without self-reflection, it is easy to fall into a repetition of the same behaviors, choices, relational drama, or traumas with different people. We can say, “I’m done with these people, and I want new ones!” However, we sometimes fail to realize that it may be a new face or situation, but it is the same unwanted outcome over and over again. Although it is quite common, it does not have to be.


It is important to recognize that just because we no longer feel an intense emotion toward a person or situation, it does not entirely mean that our hearts are healed. Ouch, right?! As a fellow human, I totally understand the eagerness to overcome heartache and suffering. We hear: “time heals all wounds,” but as a therapist, I want to let you know that it is what we do within our time that heals our wounds. Time might help create distance and silent emotions about a person or situation, but time cannot survive on its own in regard to the process of healing.


Healing can look different for everyone, and the process does not have to be linear.


Here are six ways of what healing can look like:

  1. Personal hygiene becomes easier to maintain.

  2. Learning to understand why you do the things you do.

  3. Having energy to respond to people and do fun things again.

  4. Higher tolerance for discomfort

  5. You start advocating for your needs and setting boundaries.

  6. You choose healthier coping tools more often.


If you find yourself in heartache and question your healing, I encourage you to pause, take ownership of your beautiful life through self-reflection, and ask yourself, “What am I willing to do differently? What is my version of healing?” Although effort can feel like a struggle sometimes, the more steps you take toward healing, the more progress you will begin to see. Even if you may not be a hundred percent where you want to be, you will be further along the healing process than where you started. So, what does healing mean to you?


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