Healing Isn't Linear

healing isn t linear

The journey of emotional healing is not linear. Instead, it’s more like a two-step-forward-one-step-back process. While the first step takes you closer to your goal, the second step takes you further. It’s important to remember that this process doesn’t require a fixed time frame to achieve the results you desire.


Learning new self-care behaviors takes time. They are a process that is always evolving. Often, you may fall back a step and feel like you are back where you started. This is ok. As long as you can pick yourself up and keep moving forward, you can still be on your path to healing.

Whether you are learning to cope with mental illness or learning to love yourself, self-care is a lifelong process. It doesn’t happen over night and requires patience, grace, and love. Oftentimes, we can’t see the path forward and need help. Educating yourself is an important part of healing and accepting your current situation. It is important to surround yourself with supportive people who can help you move forward.

If you’re going through a traumatic event, take some time to heal yourself. Grieving will always be a process of ups and downs. While you may feel good or bad during a phase of the process, you’ll probably feel much better if you surround yourself with supportive people who care about you.

Unlike the process of a pendulum, healing is never linear. You may feel good one day and feel down the next, or even feel completely out of control. You may experience all of life’s slings and arrows, and you’ll have to learn to center yourself and stay grounded. This can be a difficult process, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Letting go of expectations

Letting go of expectations is essential when healing from traumatic experiences. It is critical to accept that healing is not linear and that you may experience bad days and return to pain at a later date. If you have too many expectations, you’ll feel disappointed and frustrated and this will be detrimental to your overall healing process. Make it a habit to write down your expectations, ask for help and support from others, and adjust your expectations if necessary. Remember, changing your expectations is not a sign of failure; it is an opportunity to keep your motivation alive.

The next time you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, remind yourself that healing is a process and not a goal. Learning new healthier coping strategies requires time and practice. If you do fall back, don’t worry; it is only a temporary blip on the radar screen. Pick yourself back up and keep going. Healing is a journey, not a destination that you must reach.

Letting go of goals

We often think of healing as a linear process, and set goals based on what we hope to achieve. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Sometimes, healing simply involves taking two steps forward and three steps back. That’s okay, as long as we’re not giving up.

Embracing the journey

Greg McDonald and his wife, Lynn, are the co-founders of Embracing the Journey, a Christian ministry that helps build bridges for LGBTQ individuals and their families. They also co-wrote Embracing the Journey, a book about healing and acceptance that offers spiritual principals and lessons for those who are suffering from HIV/AIDS or other related illnesses.

The third annual Parents in Process workshop, spearheaded by Doug and Shauna Habel, aimed to help parents move from a state of survival to one of healing and flourishing. The event included a panel discussion of parent participants and Christian LGBTQ individuals, along with members of the Embracing the Journey Care Team.