On Friday, I published a blog entry entitled We are the Ones Who Heal Ourselves, which some readers apparently received in a different way than I intended. Please know that I would never intentionally write anything intended to judge anyone else along their healing journey – we judge ourselves enough! Let me try again to say what I was trying to say on Friday, hopefully this time with any perceived judgment removed.
I once read a metaphor about spiritual enlightenment. I will do my best to paraphrase it. One person knows the path to spiritual enlightenment, and another person seeks it. The person who knows the path can provide the directions, but the one seeking the spiritual enlightenment is the only one who can achieve it. He can choose to follow those directions or find his own path. Either way, it is about the journey, not the destination.
To apply this metaphor to healing from child abuse, you are the one on the journey to healing. Along the way, you will encounter different people (and resources) who will help (and sometimes hinder) your journey, such as therapists, books, fellow child abuse survivors, etc. Those who are in the best place to give advice are those who have been there, either healing themselves or along with someone else who has healed (such as the experienced therapist who has already traveled the journey with another child abuse survivor). However, they cannot take the journey for you.
Only you can choose to heal or not heal. Only you can choose to follow their advice or not. Sometimes the advice will be bad, and it will seem to lengthen your journey because you will seem to find yourself farther from your destination. As you heal and learn how to get into touch with your own intuition, you will get better as discerning good advice from bad.
Ultimately, I do not think that healing from child abuse is a destination to be reached so much as a journey to be taken, which is a concept I fought long and hard because I am a start-to-finish gal rather than an in-process kind of person. However, the more I heal, the more I recognize that I am not going to reach this magical place of “being healed.” Instead, the journey is more about awakening to who I already am and who I have always been. It is like the abuse “blinded” me to basic truths about myself, and the healing process is about regaining my sight. So, even when I take a wrong turn (whether due to bad advice or my own strong will), I am really no farther from my destination because I am always me. Does that make sense?
Photo credit: Hekatekris