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  • John Dunia

Levels of Healing


Photo by Claire Nolan onUnsplash


Few bright spots have emerged since our world became overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and now, this latest outcry against social injustice follows in its wake. If there is one upside to the current global chaos, it is the magnified discussion on the subject of healing. In the past, I’ve focused mainly on individual emotional healing and how it empowers us to make a difference in ourselves and in the community around us.


However, at this time, both physical and emotional healing are not only vital but need to be intertwined because working in conjunction with one another is what is necessary to launch global healing on a scale never before seen in the history of this planet.


Intertwining two kinds of healing


Many survivors of the novel coronavirus have healed physically but may still hold residual psychological trauma to deal with as well. Others, whose loved ones could not escape its merciless grip, are now left with what can feel like an impossibly overwhelming struggle to heal from the emotional damage sustained by their losses. While many have suffered devastatingly, COVID-19 has cost everyone something and will require some amount of healing.


No matter the type of injury, no matter how it was inflicted, no matter if it was undeserved, unjust, or unfair; every wound ultimately needs to be healed!


The first of many levels


Injuries occurring to people, animals, or property, are visible and an understanding of what needs to be remedied is generally evident. Overcoming the emotional damage is more elusive however, and not as easy to recognize. (I’ve written several articles on individual emotional healing and rather than recapping those ideas here, I’ve listed a few links at the end of the article for those wishing to read more on this subject.)


These tense times have taken a toll on many kinds of relationships. Whether it is an intimate or business partner, family or friend, neighbor or colleague; the unprecedented emotional strain brought on by stressful conditions has unquestionably weakened important connections. These will require healing.


Let’s begin


In order for relationships to begin the healing process, the first step is that both parties must want to continue and be willing to resolve the issues which originally damaged it. No relationship can remain whole if only one person works for it to succeed.

Next, it will require each person to look deep within themselves and ask how their actions may have contributed to the relationship’s strain, and what changes must be made to restore and help it prosper. For many, this step is the most difficult part.


It may sound a bit presumptive and some who have crossed this bridge before may object and declare they were not the ones whose actions betrayed or destroyed the relationship. So why should the onus be on them?


While this is a typical response, that question would be better understood with the guidance of a capable therapist or counselor. Nevertheless, for any relationship to rekindle its spark, it requires personal introspection and a strong mindset from both parties, along with a commitment to work it out. There needs to be forgiveness – of your partner and for yourself – for healing to occur.


Otherwise, it is impossible for any partnership to heal. If the perception from one person in the relationship is that the other one needs to make all the changes, then they have clearly chosen not to continue in this relationship.


More complications


When relationships start to include more people, it also makes for additional complications while trying to resolve issues. Families are the perfect example of that platform because when an argument ensues, there are multiple viewpoints and opinions which all need to be taken into consideration. Normally, parents do their utmost to quell the situation in restoring peace. However, if they do not take the time to listen to the grievances of their children, reconciling – as well as healing from these disputes – may never occur in a healthy and appropriate manner.


If a parent or a partner takes the approach of, “I am the authority and it has to be my way,” it’s a perspective that does nothing for resolving the crisis. It may subdue the rebellion, but it also can put fear and misunderstanding into the child’s mind. This lack of comprehension doesn’t promote healing and may eventually backfire, inciting a drastically different outcome because imparting cooperation and instilling love is what ultimately creates a well-rounded individual who can handle conflict.


One trap most parents have difficulty overcoming is dealing with their older children as adults. Complications magnify as children grow up, but they just want to live in a place where their voice is heard. And this can be a major reason why many families do not heal and are torn apart rather than grow in their love for each other.


Branching out


But when relationships extend beyond our own families such as in our neighborhoods, businesses, churches (and other religious affiliations), it requires a more tolerant approach. While some of the opportunities for healing in these groups are similar to the family structure, conflict will mandate listening to opposing viewpoints with an open mind, because these opinions should not be dismissed as trivial or unimportant.


Perhaps the biggest difference from personal and family relationships as compared to those at the community level, is that there is no option of discontinuing or walking away. Sure, we can always choose not to speak to a family member or end a marriage in divorce, but these choices are not available to people charged with the responsibility of public welfare.


Community leaders must diligently be on the lookout for inequities and injustices. Any favors or advantages doled out become a doorway to dishonesty and corruption. There is no quicker way to metaphorically peel a scab from an unhealed wound than by blatant favoritism, promoting discrimination, or authoritarianism.


Healing a nation


As it pertains to healing, a country is remarkably similar to a city only with an exponentially larger population. And perhaps what may be a fundamental quality required of a leader, is the ability to listen.


Many esteemed leaders who’ve held positions in various fields such as the military, industry, government, or religion, are touting the importance that listening holds in effective leadership. Some advocate it is perhaps the most important quality for one to possess.


Listening is also completely aligned with the concept of a nation healing. A leader cannot simply demand that healing occur. Emancipation should not transpire by a heavy-handed sword. Any leader who only rewards those yielding to his every whim will undoubtedly lead his people deeper into strife and further away from any prospect of healing.


Leadership is a difficult task and the answers are not spelled out in any book, but true leadership rises out of strife. It holds the hands of the oppressed and soothes the sores of the weary. The more compassion a leader exudes, the more healed the nation becomes. The more a leader strives to listen to its afflicted, the faster the wounds will fade from its dark memory.


We need healing and we need it on many levels. Although healing may have never been something which was high on your priority list, it must now become your focus.


My thanks to Photo by Claire Nolan on Unsplash for the wonderful photo and I look forward to your comments.


For those wishing to read more about individual emotional healing, here are links to some of my previous articles:

What does it mean to heal?

Healing on a greater scale

Continued healing