You cannot heal your way into perfection. This is something that took me many years to learn and even more years to accept. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 32 and a slew of unrelated health issues followed. I struggled with serious thyroid illnesses like Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism for many years. On top of all of that, my gut microbiome was in serious disarray. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and faced countless challenges related to that. I was sick, tired, low energy, stressed, generally unhappy, and I lived in a constant state of brain fog.
At one point in the thick of my downward spiral, I decided that it was time to focus on my health. I knew I owed it to my daughters to get healthier so that I could be there for them and set a good example. I left my comfortable job as a ‘successful’ businesswoman to pursue a career in Holistic Nutrition. It was terrifying and liberating. I had never focused any attention on personal wellness up until that point and I was drinking in as much knowledge as I possibly could.
I quickly learned that the chemotherapy prescribed by conventional doctors felt more like an additional illness than treatment and I made the personal decision to cut back on it. I started employing new strategies related to holistic wellness such as switching to a plant-based diet, juicing vegetables, practicing yoga and meditation, and I started down what would be a lifelong path of spiritual development learning reiki and other forms of energetic therapy.
One by one, my various health issues started to heal. My cancer was completely cured, my autoimmune issues became much more manageable, and my Celiac completely disappeared. I was so grateful for my newfound health and I was ready to rid my body of any ailment that came my way. In some ways, I had become addicted to wellness transformation.
I found myself becoming frustrated when any issue or negative feeling arose. On days where my energy was not quite as high as it had been for a long time, I became ultra-discouraged. If I encountered a rough patch with sleeping or an emotionally low day, my annoyance soared. I had come so far on my journey towards health – I rid myself of multiple life-threatening diseases and overcame the tragedy of losing my husband to his own fight with cancer, why was I still experiencing other negativities?
What I did not realize at the time is that the point of healing is not to arrive at a place of perfection. It is to develop the skills necessary to respond to what is imperfect. As human beings dedicated to growth, we have become engrained in the idea that we can overcome any feeling or experience that is not completely positive. We are under the impression that we can therapy, energetically heal, and mediate our way out of ever having to experience any negative episode again. But I now know that that is not the ultimate goal and it is not reality.
Sure, we can mend some of our past traumas and physical illnesses. We have seen that in practice and know it to be true. But our objective should not be to uncover every negative characteristic of ourselves in an effort to rid ourselves of them forever. This level of sterilization is not attainable for anyone and it is not necessary for overall health or happiness. In actuality, healing is the ability to feel fully and freely without becoming enveloped in one experience as a defining factor of who we are. Imperfection is part of the human experience.
Part of my healing journey has been to remove some toxic people from my life and that was a necessary step that I do not regret. But I also had to come to terms with the fact that healing does not mean ridding my life of every person who stirs up some discomfort or negative feelings. Part of my healing was understanding that some of these people still serve a purpose and that it was me who needed to accept them for their flaws.
There will always be obstacles, you will always face challenges, and there will be times when you do not feel great. Heck, you might even get sick and even feel downright terrible. There will be people who criticize you and others who do not find your work helpful. But that does not mean that you are not progressing down a path towards optimal health and happiness. Optimal does not mean perfect.
The most important thing is recognizing how you face the discomfort. Are you able to step outside of yourself and respond in an accepting way? Or does your staunch resistance to any negative experience signify that you might benefit from looking at it from a different perspective? I am now at a place where I have learned to accept all of this. To succeed, we must fail, and to recognize beauty, we must also see the darkness. I do not need to achieve perfection to be whole, happy, and healthy, and neither do you.