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Does Healing Come at a Price?

People don’t often talk about the cost of healing. Many of us embarked on this journey hoping that it would lead to a place where we have overcome struggle and suffering and we would feel good all the it can be dismaying when we realise that healing actually requires us to find a way of embracing our humanity, with all it's frailties and fallibility, rather than continuing to pursue some idea of perfection.

Here are a few of the common ‘costs’ I have come across, both in my own life and in the lives of clients.

• Illusions - sometimes comforting ones - that have protected us against difficult truths about ourselves, others and the state of the world, start to break down. Sometimes, being with what’s ‘real’ can be uncomfortable to say the least.

• Relationships, personal and professional, can grow more distant, or be lost altogether. As we start to change, the friendships and partnerships that once sustained us may no longer feel like such a good fit. A particularly area of challenge can show up in our romantic relationships if we are changing and growing and our partner is not. It’s a sad truth that sometimes we find we need to move on for the sake of our own well-being.

• No longer willing to override ourselves in the way we used to, or ignore the signals from our body to slow down and take a break, we find that we can actually do or accomplish less, at least for a while. This is particularly difficult if we’ve built our identity up around being a ‘doer’.

• We have to learn how to make friends with uncertainty. The world is difficult and unpredictable at times and - without magical thinking to shield us, or help us believe that we are somehow going to be exempt from the rigours and challenges faced by others - we can be left having to deal with feeling more vulnerable and exposed than we did before.

• We feel more not less...and we eventually come to realise that it’s not possible to feel good all the time. Instead, we discover that we’ve arrived at a place where we actually feel more of everything: yes, more excited about life, happy, resilient, content and at peace, but also more available to pain, disappointment, heartache and anger when they show up, too.

• We lose the ability to compartmentalise. As we become more fully integrated and our nervous system is able to hold more coherence, our ability to compartmentalise also takes a hit - that ability to pretend something doesn't matter, or we aren't affected by it. The truth is that sometimes we get impacted by events or by the actions of others. Stuff gets in, However, it is our resistance to feeling the impact that keeps us stuck, rather than allowing the feelings to move through and making space for things to change. Are there any others you would add...?

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