Are you healed or are you hardened? Let’s start with a few definitions.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “hardened” is to confirm in disposition, feelings, or actions. To be hardened is to make callous and to toughen
For our purposes, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re angry or bitter. It can mean that old baggage is bogging you down. It can mean that limiting beliefs and behaviors have created beliefs that are keeping you stuck and preventing you from seeing things another way.
How do these beliefs show up? They show up in almost every area of life. For example, you may see it in relationships, and it could look like this:
A previous belief that you’re less than, unworthy, broken, or not enough in some way has you settling for behavior you’d never tolerate if you felt better.
A previously painful experience (like abuse, abandonment, or betrayal) has you believing that it’s simply how relationships work, so you need to find a way to accept it.
A previous experience with a toxic friend, boss, or coworker has you believing there’s nothing that can be done about it, so do your best to accept the toxic behavior.
Those beliefs keep you in a painful place, and the longer you stay in that spot, the worse it gets. Please know that I’m not saying to flee the minute relationships get uncomfortable; that’s not what I’m saying at all. It’s often the discomfort that helps us grow, and it can actually take relationships to the next level of trust and intimacy. What I am saying is that the belief that there’s nothing you can do about it, or nothing better you can hope for, coupled with the resignation that prevents you from believing/saying/doing anything different, slowly hardens you.
“Healed,” on the other hand, is to make sound or whole. To make well again, to restore, and to correct.
Using the examples above, here’s how they’d look if you were healed versus hardened:
A previous belief that you’re less than, unworthy, broken, or not enough in some way had you settling for behavior you’d never tolerate if you felt better. It dawns on you that you are worthy, deserving, and lovable. You start by giving yourself all the love you may never have received in the past, so you realize how wonderful you are. From that space, you can’t help but radiate love, because that’s who you are. Since like energy attracts like energy, you can’t help but attract that same love you’ve been giving others right back to you.
A previously painful experience (like abuse, abandonment, or betrayal) had you believing that it’s simply how relationships work, so you need to find a way to accept it. You’ve done your research; you’ve done the work to heal, and you realize that “even though it was done to you, it’s not about you.” While that time in your life was intensely painful, all you’ve done to move through it has created a version of you that’s whole, healed, healthy, and transformed.
A previous experience with a toxic friend, boss, or coworker had you believing there’s nothing that can be done about it, so you do your best to accept their toxic behavior. It occurs to you that this was exactly the push you needed to either speak up or start that business you’ve been longing to start. You find your voice, and in doing so, you subtly change the rules around how people treat you. You simply don’t tolerate toxic behavior, and the more you work to grow through it, the more you realize that you’ve been personalizing their behavior when it actually has nothing to do with you. You see it so clearly, and instead of seeing through the eyes of anger, you’re compassionate, because you realize: “Hurt people, hurt people.” It doesn’t excuse the behavior; you’re still not tolerating it, but you see where it’s coming from, and it doesn’t hurt you anymore.
Where have your experiences left you? Not sure? No worries, that’s what my newest book: From Hardened to Healed is all about. See, nothing is wrong or a problem unless it’s preventing you from being, doing, or having what you want.
So often, we consider ourselves healed from various types of crises such as heartbreak or devastation of some kind (i.e., abuse, neglect, financial crisis, divorce, death of a loved one, disease, a tragic accident, or betrayal). We believe we’ve healed because time has passed, or because those people are no longer in our lives. While removing those people from our lives can help (such as in the case of a toxic relationship), that doesn’t mean that they still don’t have a toxic hold on your mind and heart.
Join us for the book launch party of From Hardened to Healed on October 5th from 12-2pmEST so you can see for yourself if you’re healed…or if your experiences have left you hardened. The good news? You can heal from all of it.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute