3 Subtle Signs You Are Healing Your Heart and Growing Your Spirit
From extreme extrovert to outgoing introvert, there's a good reason for my retreat
They say we have to hit rock bottom to jolt ourselves awake. Princess Jasper’s premature passing was my unraveling. Bereft and desolate, the grief of losing my K9 soulmate didn’t just send me to rock bottom; it splattered my insides all over the jaggy rocks and left me marooned and exposed, being battered by waves.
The defibrillation effect of Jasper’s passing triggered my metamorphosis. I was not ok. But I put on a front and steered my empty shell and hollow eyes through the motions of life.
I lost the energy for falsity, fakeness, and people-pleasing. Suddenly my gumption to show up at social events and entertain with my whimsical humour and high vibrations evaporated. Life continued around me, but my place in the world was precarious. I could no longer carry the burden of other people’s happiness.
I retreated deeper, and while hanging out in the depths of my soul, I found a big ball of tangled yarn from a lifetime of hurts.
I didn’t realise how fragile I was before Jasper passed away. But on reflection, I was held together by cortisol. The devastation of Jasper’s passing triggered a cataclysmic series of events, leaving me no option but to piece myself back together bit by bit, like a precious kintsugi vase.
It’s been over five years since Princess Jasper took her final breath. I’ve turned my life upside down and inside out. I’ve taken a pause from the chaos of life to listen to my heart. I’ve grown and changed, and it was only when I read an Instagram post by Dr. Nicole Lepera about six signs of healing that I realised the interconnectedness between my evolution and healing.
My healing journey started with the death of my dog, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Here are three signs of healing that resonated with me.
Three indications of healing
You may not identify with these three signs, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t healing; it just means we don’t have similar healing symptoms. Remember, we are all different.
Also, healing is not linear; it’s like one ginormous game of snakes and ladders. So go easy on yourself, you’ve got this!
1. You’ve become an introvert
I’ve always considered myself an extreme extrovert. I’m talking blue hair and eyebrow piercing, sort of out there!
But from the era of Jasper’s passing to today, I identify more with being an introvert.
On reflection, I feel my extroversion was performative, a behaviour to help me fit in and garner attention, admiration, and acceptance. I don’t seek any of that anymore; my yearning is for my own peace and contentment. I now understand it is not my responsibility to bend myself to be accepted. I don’t feel the need to fit in; I long to belong!
I used to thrive in big groups and bustling parties. Superficial conversation and surface chat was my specialty. And while I love banter, I now prefer one-to-one time and real conversation.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still happy to be the first person on the dance floor at a party, but I will now likely leave early and tuck myself up in bed with a good book.
Maybe I’m an introverted extrovert; maybe I’m an outgoing introvert. Or maybe my quirks are indicative of being an extroverted highly sensitive person. Whatever I am, one thing is certain: the tides of my temperament have changed, and I’m all good with that. I no longer feel I have anything to prove to other people.
Have you found yourself seeking solitude recently? Perhaps you have found contentment in your own company.
2. You’ve experienced relationship endings
“Anyone can show up when you are happy. But the ones who stay by your side when your heart falls apart, they are your true friends.” - Bridgette Nicole
When Jasper passed away, I lost my ability to be the primary server in my friendships. I learned tough lessons about friendship in those days. First and foremost, a hairdressing appointment is more important than an hour of need call! Without me breathing life into them, some friends fell away; they had nothing sustaining them. Other friends served as my life raft. What category each friend slotted into was unpredictable.
And then there were the “friends” who wanted to be there for me, but only if I did all the bending. As in, I was expected to travel to them and arrive juggling parrots, wearing a pink tutu, and doing the hula. All this in the days I wanted to just hide under my duvet!
Relationships have been a pivotal subject matter for me over the last few years, as I outlined in my article on Elizabeth Day’s book Friendaholic.
Recognising when a relationship has run its course and allowing it to evaporate into the atmosphere is a new skill. I’ve lost more friends and family members over the last few years than the rest of my life put together. I’m ok with this. In fact, I instigated it.
As I always say, we must weed the friendship flowerbed if we want to make space for new flowers to blossom and bloom. And yet, the ending of a friendship is among the most excruciating experiences I have endured.
Do you feel your relationships are in a transitionary period? Perhaps your changes are bringing friction to a friendship. Is it time to part ways?
3. You’ve found the courage to see your childhood for what it was
I always knew my upbringing was chaotic, unsettled, and insecure. But I didn’t want to appear a victim of my childhood. For a long time, I resisted seeing the issues of my childhood.
We can experience childhood trauma in all manner of ways. I had a happy childhood, but at the same time, I didn’t have a lot of my needs met. Being the scapegoat child of a narcissistic father, experiencing a sense of abandonment and emotional neglect at boarding school, and ongoing friction between divorced parents and sibling rivalry have all left their mark on me. But I see this now, and I’m working to heal my inner child.
We don’t need to ruminate on our childhood to find the courage to ask difficult questions about it. We can make sense of it by processing it and reflecting on it.
If you are starting to see your childhood in a new light, you are likely healing from the hurts it inflicted on you.
Embrace the change
Healing brings significant change and growth. Our natural evolution triggers numerous micro changes. But when you experience change and growth from healing, you may look back on periods of your life and barely recognise yourself.
Hold the course and know you are on the right path. Beware of the sabotagers around you, who attack with accusatory comments such as “You’ve changed!”
Your growth will be a threat to some and an inspiration to others; choose your company wisely.
What signs have you experienced to indicate you’re healing? I’d love to hear your input in the comments.
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