I’m going to start right off by saying I don’t have the answer to my own question in this blog post. But I am willing to ask it because…because if we don’t ask, we’ll never find the answers. And I need some damn answers.
One of the things I am learning about mid-life is that it is a time when we have the opportunity to become our own person. Even if we’re partnered.
And this is kind of a weird thing to say, because duh (!) aren’t I already my own person? But I think 1- we’re not always our own person; we’ve got a lot of responsibilities and hats and roles and 2- even if we are our own person, I think mid-life gives us an opening to re-create ourselves with the best of what we know, who we are, and who we are called to be.
If that makes any sense.
My question today revolves around that personal r/evolution of mid-life self-creation: is there a difference between ‘fixing’ ourselves and ‘healing’ ourselves?
Because I think there is and I think it’s an important one.
When I think of ‘fixing’ I think of saying things to myself like:
“I need to be more patient.”
“I wish I was stronger.”
“I really need to be better at finishing things.”
“I should be nicer.”
Fixing, to me, feels like reaching for things that I admire or desire, and which may genuinely benefit me, but also come from a place of deficit. Fixing feels like it comes from a hole I need to fill in order to be adequate. The result may be great, but there’s this underlying sense of insecurity- I need to fix myself because there’s something wrong with me.
I say that because I spent a lot of years fixing myself. And while I did make some changes, and I did become (or at least, ‘try on’) a different person…I also kinda got sick of fixing myself. I’m tired of having things wrong with me. Aren’t I good enough? I wondered.
‘Healing’ may also be about ‘good enough’ but I think it’s different than ‘fixing.’ Healing feels like moving towards something I admire or desire, but it’s deeper (and potentially more painful), and the result is peace and freedom. The desire to heal doesn’t come from a place of inadequacy, but rather, a place of readiness and hope (or: being done with my own BS).
When I think of ‘healing,’ I think of saying things like:
“I’m ready to stop having crappy boundaries.”
“It’s time to get over my lack of self-esteem.”
“I need to feel this and let it go.”
I think there are small differences between how ‘fixing’ and ‘healing’ sound and feel, but they are important. Here’s why: ‘fixing’ seems to be endless. We could ‘fix’ ourselves our whole damn lives and never be done. There will always be some amazing standard we will have to hold ourselves to. That is where ‘fixing’ comes from, I think- comparison (to others, to what the media puts out, to what the ‘spiritual industry’ puts out). Because the standards for what women should be are always changing, there will always be something to compare ourselves to, find ourselves lacking, and then need to fix.
I think ‘healing’ comes from a different place: the desire for peace. I think when we do our healing work, we actually get to a place of peace, freedom, acceptance, and compassion. And there’s no other standard to compare ourselves to- only our previous state of wounding. We simply have to ask, “Am I wounded here anymore?” There’s no other standard than that.
In a funny way, healing also seems to lead to not needing to fix anymore. Self-acceptance seems to be part of the healing process (how could it not be?) and when we accept ourselves, the need to ‘fix’ seems to decrease. It’s an interesting by-product I have seen many times.
For some of us, there may be no difference between these two concepts and actions. But if there is, I think we need to look at how those things work in our own lives. How do we use them? Are we being constructive or running on the (media created) hamster wheel? We can use them wisely to be more of who we are.
What do you think: is ‘fixing’ different than ‘healing?’ Have you worked on yourself in these ways- and did you notice a difference? Leave me a comment, let me know.