Healing is a journey, not a destination

Trauma has been a common term discussed in many social circles for the past few years. I believe the concept of trauma is approaching a condition of stagnation due to the overwhelming focus it has received.

We are beginning to hear new terms to further the conversations on trauma, like “resiliency” and “healing.” Both terms have their place in our conversations on trauma. However, we should be careful how we are having these conversations and crafting these narratives.

One way this narrative is currently explained is the notion of healing being a destination to reach and not a process to experience. This can be dangerous if not discussed clearly and objectively.

(Photo by Filip Zrnzević on Unsplash)

For myself, I see where I am now just at the beginning of my journey to discovering who I am as a man. Most of my childhood consisted of trauma and drama. I was exposed to domestic violence for a majority of my childhood. It was painful, unpredictable, and often shocking.

I am the oldest of three boys. My brothers played a significant role in my development as a man. Unbeknown to them, I made a lot of decisions in my life to provide a model for what I thought we lacked with the male figures in our lives.

I always attempted to do things for my brothers so they could have at least one male to look at and say, “This is what a man is supposed to be.” This is a lot of responsibility to place on oneself as a child. However, I felt chosen to be such a person.

Now I am approaching 32 years of age and do a lot of work around trauma, manhood, personal development and mental health. I am often asked by my peers, “How did you overcome?” and “What helped you to heal from your trauma?”

This is not easy to answer. There were several factors from my perspective. I am confident that I am unaware of some of these factors. However, the following three things have been significant in assisting me on my healing journey:

  • Being honest: This is the key element in my journey. I was able to be authentic with myself. I was able to understand the things that were constructive for me and those that were destructive. Being honest with oneself takes being willing to get out of one’s comfort zone and being brave enough to take a risk.
  • Models of impact: I remember always coming into contact with men who inspired me directly or indirectly to be greater than I am. I can also say there were a significant number of such women as well. However, I can name at least one male at each stage of my development who expanded my vision of life and created a notion of something different and better out there for myself.
  • Exposure: This is one of the most underappreciated elements to one’s development. I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to other environments and people. That has allowed me to discover a purpose larger than the box I was socialized to be in.

In essence, each of these three keys to my healing journey involves my self-awareness, social connections and environment. One cannot heal without being able to find comfort in these three areas.

Many men suffer in silence because we struggle to recognize that our comfort zone is an unhealthy place for us to be in. Sometimes our pain is the center cushion in the comfort zone. Our pain is familiar and predictable, which usually leads to limited action in treating it in a constructive matter.

We should not view healing as a destination. It is dangerous when we do so. We must start discussing healing as a journey. Sometimes we have experienced so much toxicity in our lives that it does not go away. However, those adverse experiences do not have to impede our growth and our purpose.

It is my hope that your journey will lead you to abundance and success.

 

Brandon Jones M.A. is a mental health practitioner. He welcomes reader responses to Brandon@jegnainstitute.com or follow him on twitter @UniversalJones.