Healing yourself is connected with healing others. –Yoko Ono
When someone is recovering from an illness and the aftereffects of therapies like surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, she or he needs to be surrounded by those they love and who love them. Among those family members and friends there should be people who understand that the healing experience is a journey for the person who is recovering, often starting with the need for quiet introspection to find acceptance for what has happened—a life-threatening disease and possibly, as a result of treatment, a permanent change in the body from before the illness. The beginning of this journey is generally difficult, but it can be redirected to reveal an unexpected and wonderful outcome. The person who is healing, and all those helping on the journey, can learn Life’s most precious lesson—how to love yourself and others unconditionally.
Open and honest communication is the key to creating the supportive environment needed for all involved to see this Healing Journey as a chance to deepen loving connections. If you are embarking on this journey as the one in recovery, be sure you know how to tell people who want to help what you need. Sometimes we think that what we need is obvious and people can read our minds, but good communication requires clearly saying, “I need….” or “My needs for now are…” But be accepting of the help someone can give you so that if they can’t meet a different need you have, they will still feel useful. Maybe a friend isn’t physically strong enough to help you from your bed to a chair, but she can give you the gift of precious time to sit and listen, fulfilling your need to talk.
Many people are trained from childhood that they must never risk making someone who is ill feel worse by saying the “wrong thing.” Don’t be afraid to respond to those who say something like, “Oh, you look great!” by telling them how you really feel—physically and emotionally. Your honesty will open up the kind of supportive communication that benefits both you and the person who genuinely wants to support you on your Healing Journey but is unsure how.
By being open, honest, and grateful for each person’s particular way of fulfilling your needs as you heal, you are teaching these caring helpers how to accept and love themselves and others unconditionally. Love does not judge—it does not see imperfections of body or soul. That is why we say, “Love is blind.” It is to our faults. The people I love are beautiful. It doesn’t have anything to do with how they look. A light shines from their souls. To me they are beautiful and that’s never going to change.
The people who love you will fulfill your needs as you heal in their own unique ways because you are beautiful in their eyes. Your love for them as they support you on your Healing Journey makes them beautiful in your eyes…and like me, you will know that is never going to change.