The adventure of healing differs by individual. For example, one person may only need he passive healing of time, while the next person needs the fury and tempering fire of dangerous growth. Dangerous growth actively seeks to push past the initial pain of a mental or spiritual injury.
Purifying the injury and breaking the habits grown from it are the goal.
The Adventure Begins
“I don’t want to be making the same mistakes ten years from now that I’m making now.”Me to a new therapist
During the first meeting, I threw that ultimatum in my new therapist’s face. For several years, I’ve worked with her as we fought through a slew of old beliefs, negative thoughts, and sometimes my own downright idiocy.
Most importantly, I’ve come to realize there is no finish line. For instance, old pain will crop up in new ways no matter what. What matters is the steps taken to deal with that pain. Those steps can move us forward or set us back.
This is dangerous growth. Indeed a most harrowing adventure.
Healing or Dangerous Growth?
What’s the difference? Certainly, like healing a physical wound, the process of healing mind and spirit can be somewhat passive. In fact, the proverb time heals all wounds traces its roots to the Greek poet Menander.
Time is the healer of all necessary evils.Menander
Over 2300 years dead, and the man still has a point. However, I guess he was referring to lessening pain from trauma or grief over time. I have personally observed this phenomenon in my own life.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I told my therapist what I wanted. All I knew was my life was not where I wanted it to be.
Adventure of Healing: Dangerous Growth
What happens when feelings are forced into thoughts? First, the spirit is shoved into the mind. Second, the mind refuses to handle it. I know this from experience. Forcing all of my emotions into the shape of thoughts definitely felt like shoving star-shaped pegs into oval holes.
Emotion and reason are separate yet equal forces in the human experience. How do we embrace both? wikiHow highlights loving yourself as the first step to spiritual healing. I’d argue that the first step is radical acceptance. Understand that “perfect as you are” doesn’t exist. So what is radical acceptance, really?
The concept has its roots in Buddhism.
Radical acceptance can be defined as the ability to accept situations that are outside of your control without judging them, which in turn reduces the suffering that is caused by them.Arlin Cuncic, MA, verywell mind
A related concept exists in the ancient philosophy of stoicism. Control what you can, ignore the rest. Only our own actions are within our control. In other words, it’s not that nothing affects an individual. It’s that the actions a person takes concerning what happened matter more.
Such things as emotional reactions, illnesses, and mental conditions are beyond our control. However, what we do about them is entirely within our control. As an example, I have bipolar 1. In the past, I’ve experienced mania, depression, hallucinations, and extreme delusions. I sought treatment when I noticed the spiraling effect these things had on my life.
My Dangerous Growth
Did I expect to have bipolar 1 when I already had an ADHD diagnosis? Definitely not, and my initial bipolar diagnosis came from a professional convinced I didn’t also have ADHD. However, when I got the news, my decision shaped my life ever since. I didn’t have to be bipolar.
My identity was under my control. Even now, the phrase I am bipolar is not one I use. Instead, I say I have bipolar. It’s a way to acknowledge the existence of the challenge without giving myself over to it.
Do I take meds? Yes. Did I have to change my entire style of living? In a variety of ways. I’ll never cure my bipolar, but I have come a long way in my recovery. In the last few weeks, my ADHD diagnosis became re-established as well. As I said at the beginning of this article, there is no finish line.
Dangerous growth is a process. The tempering fire scalds infection out of wounds long left to fester. Often, it’s impossible to tell how deep those wounds go. To clarify, it takes courage, stubbornness, and a will to keep fighting to follow this path.
I won’t stop.
What about you? Have you experienced a time of dangerous growth in your life? Have you been too afraid to begin your adventure? What would it take to nudge you onto that path? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll see you in my next blog.