Normally, I would consider myself an introvert who relishes physical solitude and, therefore, the inherent recharging brought by the pandemic. However, there came a time in this journey when I had absolutely nothing else to do. I had occupied myself with watching an abundance of new Korean dramas, rekindling my love of singing (without deafening the poor Biolans who lived next to me) and building nano Legos. In the midst of the boredom that accumulated after moving back home for over a year, one surprise blessing stands out: healing.
Growing up, I transferred to 17 schools and lived in a few different countries. I developed social anxiety and low self-esteem, coupled with constant language confusion in switching between Cantonese, Mandarin and English. I never stayed in one place long enough to make deep connections and assimilate fully into different school cultures. Throughout high school and even in college, I had to navigate an abundance of social situations without healing from my previous insecurities. There was never a time to stop and pause. Even though I was surrounded by some friends whenever I transferred, I perpetually felt lonely and spent most of my time being anxious and insecure about myself.
A Blessing in Disguise
A huge blessing that emerged in light of this pandemic has been space and time to reflect on my insecurities and the ability to start to work through them. Being physically isolated from others, although disheartening, facilitated deeper introspection and self-reflection. For instance, I was able to figure out that even though I’ve always dreamed of having a group of close friends, I often bar myself from being attached to others because I assume everyone is judging my flaws. I also often presume the first thing people see about me is my physical appearance, which makes me self-conscious in social situations.
Gentle Reminders on Healing
Here are some things I learned during this time of relative solitude to reflect on my past hurt and experiences. Whether you have experienced traumatic situations in your life or are just seeking to be a little kinder to yourself, I encourage you to try some of them out!
- Talk to yourself. Yes, out loud. Verbal processing helps us self-soothe and be more honest with ourselves. Honesty is one of the first steps in healing.
- Our own thoughts can be our biggest enemy. Take time to identify negative thought patterns and fully flesh them out, even if it might hurt.
- Admit your past pain. One of the biggest catalysts to healing is to admit that you are or were hurt.
- Forgive yourself for any mistakes you made. You are more than your past mistakes.
- Be patient. Healing takes time and persistence and differs for everyone.
Practical Steps toward Healing
- Journal your thoughts daily or weekly. Understanding your thoughts helps you recognize triggers and learn to respond in healthy ways.
- Reconnect and, if they are open to it, reconcile with people from the past to gain closure. This is a hard step, but incredibly relieving and therapeutic if you are up for the challenge.
- When you are ready, find a trusted friend, family member or even a therapist to verbally process through your thoughts and feelings.
As always, if you would like to verbally and externally process through some of your hurt, Biola’s Pastoral Care, Spiritual Direction and the Biola Counseling Center will welcome you with open arms! They are there to help you through your pain and will offer an empathetic and kind listening ear to any of your concerns.
Don’t Fret! Healing is a journey.
Even though this pandemic has been absolutely tumultuous for most of us, I encourage you to take this unique time to reflect on yourself and allow yourself to heal from the past. Healing is a continual journey and can take years, but it will shape and equip you for a much brighter future. Identifying the need to heal is already the first step, which may be why you clicked on this blog in the first place. I am already proud of you, and we are in this healing process together!
Written by Clarissa Chan, Sophomore Psychology Major, Peer Wellness Ambassador