The process of emotional or psychological healing can be a long and windy path. Unfortunately, it's not always a predictable one where we're consistently feeling better and better over week over week. The journey of healing often involves ups and downs, setbacks, and moments of progress.
The phrase "healing isn't linear" suggests that healing is not always a straightforward, sequential progression.
In a linear process, you might expect to see steady improvement without significant deviations. Except, emotional healing is influenced by so many various internal and external factors - including the complexity of one's experiences, the depth of wounds, external circumstances, and individual coping mechanisms.
The concept of non-linear healing acknowledges several important points:
- Plateaus and Regression: People may experience periods where they feel they've made significant progress, followed by times of stagnation or even regression. It's normal to have moments when old wounds resurface or when the healing process slows down.
- Unpredictable Triggers: Certain events, situations, or triggers can unexpectedly evoke intense emotions or memories, disrupting the healing process temporarily.
- Unresolved Layers: Healing often involves addressing multiple layers of emotions and wounds. As one layer is dealt with, another may emerge, requiring further attention.
- Growth and Reflection: Healing involves learning, growth, and self-discovery. Sometimes growth requires stepping back and reflecting on patterns and behaviors before moving forward.
- Non-Linear Progress: Healing might involve making progress in some areas while simultaneously facing challenges in others. It's not a linear path from pain to complete resolution.
The journey of change and healing requires patience, self-compassion, and resilience. It's important to allow yourself the space to experience setbacks without feeling discouraged, and to recognize that moments of difficulty don't negate the progress you've made. The non-linear nature of healing emphasizes the need for ongoing self-care, seeking support when necessary, and embracing the process as a whole rather than fixating solely on outcomes. Having accountability and support in a coaching setting helps individuals to navigate the setbacks AND celebrate the wins.