I had been working hard with my counselor to change some ways I view relationships. And the progress was tangible.
The high of unearthing and reframing an issue left me feeling unstoppable.
But it wasn't long before my resolve was tested. My response to the conflict surprised me and I found myself back in a familiar place, struggling with thoughts and emotions I thought I had worked through.
Frustrated, I recounted what happened to my counselor, making sure to put myself down for thinking I had made progress only to find myself right back where I started.
I'm not sure where I got the idea that because I trip and fall sometimes that I don't know how to walk.
Slipping into old patterns is not an indication that I haven't healed.
The familiarity of my response does not mean that I never left the starting line.
As we untangled my response and the feelings caught inside it I began to see that although I could recognize the angst, it was slightly different this time. Within the struggle was awareness, shrouded at first by my self-doubt.
Recognizing the familiar was actually a sign of healing. Because healing comes when we can acknowledge what needs to change. Realizing, in the midst of the struggle, that I was stepping back into an old pattern was progress!
I tend to chastise myself. I have been my own bully. But I cannot allow myself to disregard victories in my healing journey. And neither should you.
Don't ignore or explain away the milestones you have hit along the way. Acknowledge them! Celebrate them! They are victories, no matter how big or small they might be.
"What are some milestones you can acknowledge in your process of healing? If you have trouble seeing them, ask a spouse or friend to help you." (Mary DeMuth, Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing After Sexual Abuse)
This is a post from my 31 days of Healing in Him series. You can find all the posts in this series here, updated each day in October. Category: Inspirational & Faith #write31Days
This is absolutely wonderful and SO true. I struggle with disordered eating and while different from what you are writing about, the thinking patterns are so similar. After I would go through an eating binge (long after I had been in therapy for years and thought I should be "past this") my therapist would remind me of the points of progress along the way. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Sara, for sharing here! It's so important that we don't use our stumbles to get down on ourselves. Yes, it's frustrating when old habits surface again, but part of the healing process is learning how to handle it when they do. And not seeing it as a sign of no progress.
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