Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

What is Healing?

If you've ever read one of my emails, you may have noticed that my closing remark is always "To healing". Recently someone asked what that means to me? What is healing?

Webster's says that it's "tending to cure or restore to health;" All of us living on this planet are well aware of the wounds life brings and the need for healing.

For me, healing enables me to wake each day feeling fortunate to be alive. It grants me freedom to live beyond the painful events of my past and liberates me to move forward enriched by what has happened. While my scars will always be there, they are healed and although each wound tells a story, I don't live there anymore.

Life is hard and as those of you reading certainly understand, it isn't fair. It's bad enough trying to handle the problems and pain created by my own poor decisions, but even worse, I have no choice or control over the difficulties perpetrated against me by life and/or by others, especially my spouse. These wounds, received in the process of life, will either enrich or destroy our lives. But we do get to choose which it will be.

I think an honest evaluation of life confirms the reality of life's pitfalls, but what vexes me are those who choose to not get back up. Why would anyone choose not to heal? What would cause us to choose to remain tethered to life's injustice rather than push forward, even if it's an extremely slow and arduous process, in order to ultimately heal and find new life?


One factor causing people to choose pain over healing is negativism.

To heal, there has to be a desire to live. Choosing life takes courage.

I once read that courage is the condition where your desire for life is greater than your fear of death. A person trapped in a burning building may have to run through a wall of flames to escape. It takes courage to act in the face of fear. But if their desire for life isn't stronger than their fear of death, then they'll never find the courage to run to freedom.

When wounded, some seem to prefer their current state of misery over taking the risk that comes with experiencing life.

The easiest way to go through life is negativism.

You never have to worry about disappointment if you never allow yourself to take a chance on life. But at the same time, you never get to experience life's joy if you're not willing to heal and move on.

Healing is a willingness to take a chance on life. There's the risk of failure and of being wounded once again, but without that risk, there's never opportunity to experience life's abundance.


Some choose not to heal because they want to punish the ones who have wounded them.

They believe that healing would somehow let the ones who have wounded them off the hook. In reality, "healing" is the only process whereby those who are wounded can let themselves off the hook. Why would you want to suffer for the sake of making someone else pay?

I can look at it one of two ways. First, I can fight the injustice that someone did this to me, sacrificing my future by staying focused on what they've done, refusing to let go, and continuing to bludgeon the perpetrators in my life with my miserable state. Relief comes when I believe they have paid for their crimes. But the net result isn't healing rather, it's just about justice.

Second, I can choose forgiveness, letting go of the debt incurred by others and choosing to focus on what brings life. This scenario is a about a refusal to let circumstances rob me of my attitude choice. There are few things that we control in life, but one factor I do control is my attitude. I can choose to heal and do what's necessary to move forward, even if that journey has numerous stages to it.


Sometimes it's not for lack of motivation, but it's for lack of knowledge that people don't heal. As humans, and this has become less popular in modern culture, we tend to be limited by none other than us. We only know how to bring ourselves to the process. We think that doing more of the same will somehow bring about the change we're seeking, but it won't. If I had been capable of changing, it would have happened a long time ago.

To heal we have to take on a beginners mind and assume that we may not know what or how.

It seems that some would rather remain in their wounded state rather than abandoning their pride and admitting they may not be right. Where there is healing there is a simple humility that allows us to receive from others and to find a path that can restore our health.

"To healing" is about my wish for you to have a more complete life. My hope is that by grace we all experience new life.

Are you ready to pursue healing for your relationship? Register for EMS Weekend, our weekend intensive for couples. Experience the safety, community, and healing this weekend provides.



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