It’s a new year and a perfect opportunity for a new start. It’s refreshing for me to be back writing this column once again. I took a break from writing this advice column because I felt like I was the last person who should be soliciting advice.
The past couple of months have been humbling, to say the least. I found myself in the throes of a situation that made me feel hopeless, living in denial of who I was. I was hurt, happy, wrong, angry, relieved, remorseful and resentful.
But in the midst of it all, I was less devastated by the loss of a relationship than I was devastated at how I let myself be treated — and even more so by how much of myself had been lost in the process. I knew the next step was to embark on the healing process, but I also knew this was something different than anything I had ever had to endure.
When I imagine healing, I think of solving my predicaments by applying a few face masks and drawing a bubble bath with my hair up in a towel while I schedule therapy appointments and watch “The Princess Diaries.” While all of those are great, this time was different. I knew there was something more that needed to be done than to assume my traditional methods of healing.
I decided it would be best to implement my healing into my daily life and to create new resolutions. To kick off the new year, I thought I would resurrect this column and share what my new resolutions have meant to me, and a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
- Apologize. Bite the bullet and learn there is strength in admitting when you’re wrong. It may take a while to reflect upon where you misstepped or hadn’t acted the wisest, but when it comes to wrongdoing, have the courage to recognize it and try your best to make amends. With that said, it is important to dig deep and evaluate what you want to result from your apology. Does the desire to make amends come from a genuine place of remorse, or are you only apologizing in hopes that you will longer be the villain in their story? If your answer is the latter, you may need some more time before having that conversation.
- Identify your support system. Figure out who is there to give you advice, comfort and the hard truth when you need it. Surround yourself with those who make you feel loved when you feel like anything but. Evaluate who you confide in before venting to them. Also, it’s fantastic if you’re lucky enough to have a friend who can make a vent session feel like a therapy session, but it is important to understand they are not your therapist. When it comes to heavier topics, save any and all trauma dumping for a professional.
- Believe in yourself. No one else is going to do it for you.
- Create. Putting my emotions into creative outlets has helped me express them in a healthy way that makes me feel that what I am feeling can be put to good use. I don’t have to hold in what I’m feeling as long as I can write it, sing it, draw it or wear it.
- Do things that bring you comfort. While I’ve found importance in doing activities that involve leaving your comfort zone, I still believe in the tried and true. Sometimes when life feels unsure, it feels good to stick with what you know best: watching your favorite film you know every word to, or singing lyrics you know like the back of your hand. A track I have enjoyed is the live version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs.” Music helps me to romanticize small routines, such as getting ready for the day. Mornings become much more bearable when I listen to my favorite music and my hairbrush becomes a microphone.
When I finally admitted to myself that I needed to begin this process, I felt as though I was standing on the edge of a cliff, staring into a foggy abyss. Everything felt unclear and unpredictable. I knew two things about healing: it is not a linear process and it is a continual journey that never finishes. This may make it sound hopeless, but it’s much more comforting when we understand that everyone is healing from something.
No matter what, everyone around us has something they’re going through: our professors, our friends, our coworkers and our families. I can confidently say that while jumping from your cliff may be intimidating, taking the leap is miles better than staying where you are. Fearing change isn’t worth giving up the life you deserve. Though it can be scary, when we realize that healing is all around us, it can be so much less daunting and so much more possible.