When you’re on any kind of healing journey, it can be easy to want to look for answers from anywhere and anywhere else…except yourself. I’ll be the first to admit it. Whatever the intention is focused on- improving physical health, alleviating emotional weight, navigating through chronic illness, deepening your spirituality, or more-, the first thing you want is a quick-fix, a one-stop-shop, one-and-done solution to all your problems.
We live in a society that practically worships convenience (I sometimes think of it like a “microwave culture”. Just hit a button and boom! It’s done.). How nice would it be if healing actually happened that way? Sign me up!
If you’re the type that thinks, “Gosh, I just want to find someone that gives me all the answers I’m looking for! I want someone that can fix me”, I have a few things to note: (1) you’re not alone. Those of us that have been on our own type of healing journey, if we’re being honest, will admit to having had the exact same thought. (2)I have news for you. It might not be the news you want to hear, but it’s news you need to hear. It’s something I wish someone would have told me long ago when physical and mental health ruled my life so I could re-focus attention on what really mattered. And that is that relying on someone else to “heal you” won’t do much if any, good. If you’re unwilling to do your part and be what I call an active participant in the process, you won’t get very far.
What does it mean to be an active participant in your healing?
Being an active participant simply means taking ownership in and over your process. While there are no promises here, chances are you’ll have more success when you actively engage in your own healing. When you’re an active participant in your own healing journey, you’re willing to do the work to take steps towards your intention. In doing so, not only will you make more progress faster, but you’ll be more empowered and the changes you make are more likely to be sustainable.
Regardless of the intention, or the end goal, making the choice to be an active participant in the process is one of the first and most important steps. You can’t expect to get very far on your healing journey if you don’t expect to go anywhere in the first place. Making progress is not possible if you’re not willing to make any effort. Someone that’s serious about true healing is going to be intentional.
This applies whether you’re going at it alone (I do not recommend this. Healing can be hard and isolating. It’s best to have community!), or if you’re working with a person or group towards progress. Notice I said with. When you hire someone- a practitioner, a coach, a counselor, a provider- you are working with them. While it’s expected for these folks to be specialists in their own right and in certain experience/ training perhaps, they are not the ones actually doing the work. They are there to provide appropriate guidance, recommendations, support and protocols within their abilities. However, at the end of the day, you are the one actually making the changes. These parties are not there to actually implement the changes. That’s your job (the person who is seeking healing!).
Solely relying on others for our healing would be like a doctor giving a prescription, but the patient expecting them to take it to also pick it up and take it for them too. It’d be like a health coach providing suggestions for clients to consider to improve their well-being, but the client expecting the coach to actually apply them for them. As easy and convenient as it would be to hand our healing off to someone else, it doesn’t work that way.
When it comes to the healing journey, we have to be active participants in the process. We have to be willing to show up, not just for services we’ve hired or investments we’ve made, but for ourselves.
My goal as a Practitioner
When it comes to the work I do as a health coach and also an MBSR™ practitioner, this is something I tell every client as we begin our journey together: I am not their healer.
Yes, I facilitate much of this process. Yes, I encourage and empower my clients to be their own best advocates. And as much as I would love to see their beautiful faces often, my goal is not for them to have to rely solely on me as their practitioner forever. My goal is to start pointing them in the direction of healing.
Think of it as me handing you a compass. I may show you how to open it, teach you the cardinal directions that are options to explore. Then, when you’ve chosen the direction you want to move in (aka the direction of progress and healing), I walk alongside you in that direction. I may even give you tools and resources to take along for the journey. But I cannot walk the actual steps for you. You have to be willing to take the steps in the direction you want to move in.
As a practitioner, I make it clear that while I can serve many roles (facilitator, empowerer, cheerleader, support person, etc.), I am not the healer. YOU are. Your body’s innate intelligence is. The Creator of that intelligent design is.
I will not enable; I will empower. I will do everything in my power to support you, but I cannot and do not save you. You, and the greater power within you, is what will do that. And you better believe I’ll be right there celebrating your effort when it happens!
Real talk: Despite how good it sounds initially, you don’t want someone that’s always giving you the answers you need and serving as “your healer”. Because what happens when they’re not around? Or when you’re time with them is done? You can’t, nor do you want to have to, rely on that person forever. Your practitioner should be empowering you to become the biggest cheerleader and advocate in your health journey; not building a forever reliance on their services.
Sidenote: I’d also encourage you to be wary of anyone in places of power or influence that does claim to be the ultimate/your ultimate savior.
Far further into my own healing journey than I’d like to admit, I learned something: Nobody was going to do the work for me. I had to take responsibility for my healing and take an active role. I had to get back in the driver’s seat.
That’s the invitation I have for you today, friend. It may not have come in the prettiest of envelopes or wrapped up with a bow, but it came especially for you nonetheless.
This is an invitation to take ownership; to take back control over the direction of your life.
An invitation to dive deeper; into what’s been holding you back, what’s been keeping you stuck in that cycle, and what’s been inhibiting you from moving forward towards the healing you desperately desire.
But I cannot do the work for you. If you want sustainable results and to see/feel actual progress, only you can do that <3.