Having endured long delays at the emergency, I decided to go home.

If the physicians weren’t going to see me after hours of waiting, then I must not have been a pressing concern.

The logic sounded good. But as arrived home, got into bed, and closed my eyes to fall asleep, the fear welled up in me again.

And now, I couldn’t sleep. I punched and screamed into my pillow in disbelief. How could I have ever done this to myself?

This is life transitions. Welcome to day seven.

Life Transitions Progression

If this series has piqued your curiosity, here are the quick links to past stories:

Life Transitions, Day 1 (Introduction)
Life Transitions, Day 2: Resistance
Life Transitions, Day 3: Jobs & Careers
Life Transitions, Day 4: Location
Life Transitions, Day 5: Relationships
Life Transitions, Day 6: When the Sandcastle Crumbles

Recovery from Life Transitions

Recovery generally occurs post-transition.

The transition that preceded it may have been an injury, burnout, a breakup, or otherwise.

Whatever it was, it left you scarred, exhausted, or heartbroken. And now you’re on a journey of rehabilitation, or recovery, as it were.

Having grown up as a sensitive kid, I can honestly say I’ve felt all these things intensely and deeply. And, in those moments, I honestly thought I was broken and would never recover from any of it.

I have not lost my ability to be sensitive in adulthood, but having endured criticism, ridicule, rejection, failure, insignificance, and more, I can honestly say I’ve learned, I’ve grown, and I’ve changed.

By peeling away the layers, I’ve become more of myself, not less.

Because we dig closer to our identity every time, we peel away a layer.

Isn’t that true recovery?

Because to recover means to retrieve what was lost. And when we retrieve what was lost, we don’t just become healthier. We also lay claim to a piece of ourselves that’s been missing.

Although some things cannot be recovered (an amputated arm isn’t likely coming back), there’s still a process of recovery that wants to – and needs to – take place after a life altering transition.

The Process of Recovery

We often make a grave error when we assume recovery will be fast and easy.

The moment the injury is inflicted may well be the most traumatic. But healing is the part that can be the most grueling.

Rehabilitation can be time-consuming and require a great deal of mental toughness besides. Which can leave us baffled.

We know that’s the case for physical rehab. We shouldn’t expect any less when it comes to matters of the heart either.

Have you heard of the vagus nerve? It basically sits right above our hearts. There is scientific evidence to suggest that, when our heart breaks, our vagus nerve literally breaks too.

So, when you feel pain in your chest, it’s not coincidental.

Additionally, spirituality and religion has long understood the heart as one of seven key energy centers that reside in our body (again, this also has some scientific backing).

What’s most important to know is that recovery is possible.

Time Heals All Wounds?

When people say, “time heals all wounds” there is some truth to that. But we must be careful with this expression.

Because in a general sense, there are two paths to healing, and only one which restores integrity (which is the state of being whole, complete, and undivided).

The first path is suppression. Through addictive behavior, we find a way to push down our feelings until they seemingly disappear. Except they don’t. They end up being stored somewhere in your body and become underlying conditions that can flare up unexpectedly.

The second path is allowance. Allowing yourself to grieve fully. To sit with the consequences and emotions without judgement. To acknowledge them and love them. This, of course, is the harder path, but it’s healing of the highest order – not of the counterfeit variety.

So, when people say “be strong – don’t cry” they are robbing you of the ability to fully mourn an event. By mourning now, you can become complete. If you turn to addictive behavior instead, you will store that energy in your body for later.

“I Will Never Recover from This”

This is a phrase I’ve heard coming from the younger generation. And I’ve also known people who’ve lived this story.

The story itself isn’t wrong. But it’s the belief that makes it true.

The emotions don’t make it true, because fundamentally your emotions are a byproduct of your thought life. And while your thought life is 95% on automatic, that doesn’t mean you can’t be more intentional about your thoughts.

Although beliefs aren’t fundamentally “right or wrong” (and you can always choose your beliefs), you may want to examine why you feel you will never recover from whatever event or trauma you’ve experienced.

If you’re holding onto this story, it’s quite likely there is a payoff. Maybe it makes you feel special. Maybe you like the way you get treated by others when you choose this belief. Or, you believe it will give you some other advantage in life.

Anything with a payoff also has an impact. By insisting on the payoff, you cut yourself off from something important – self-expression, love, connection, or otherwise (it can even be all of the above).

Life can be difficult. But change is constant. If you don’t know how to handle change, you can cut yourself off from growth, too.

What if…

What if, just for a moment, we were to take it for granted that we as humans are resilient and can recover from anything.

What if we were to see ourselves as having been designed for any challenges that come our way (aside from spiritual implications). That challenges were just a part of the contrasting world we live in.

And by contrast what I mean is this – happiness can only exist because of sadness. Tall can only exist because there is short.

The truth is, we don’t just live in a world of contrast. We also live in a world of unfathomable symmetry.

What I’m saying is there’s no need to take these things for granted. There’s no need to imagine being superman or superwoman. Because you already are. You’ve been given everything you need to recover from anything.

The question is – will you insist on being the victim, or will you embrace your journey? Because your journey, whatever it may have been, has brought you to this moment.

Recovery, Final Thoughts

Recovery can take time. And it may require something on your part.

But it’s better to stop, recover and move forward than to remain wounded and head back into battle. You could easily set up yourself for further injury, prolonging the process of healing and recovery.

What has been your experience with recovery? What events or circumstances have you had to recover from?

I look forward to sharing more on the topic of life transitions, and if you have any questions, please let me know.

Leave a comment below.

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