Healing vs. Learning

by | Aug 1, 2023 | Healing Trauma, Personal Growth

As I sit down to write to you this week, loads of things are on my mind, like … 

  • The transition I’m making with Conversations from the Heart to make content from those calls more accessible to you all … watch for more details to follow soon!
  • The new membership program that I’ll be rolling out at the end of this month to accommodate a wider range of time zones for our membership calls as our community becomes increasingly more global 
  • And the importance of understanding the key differences between healing processes and learning processes as you embark on your self-development journeys!

Although the healing and learning process overlap with one another, understanding some foundational differences between them will help you make informed decisions about the kinds of programs and services you seek out on your growth journey.  

Essentially, healing focuses on tending to our past wounds so that we can find inner peace, while learning focuses on providing new information, knowledge and skills for personal growth.

Why is this on my mind?  

I find myself often needing to explain that the intention of my online programming is heavily biased towards learning and not healing.  In my opinion, healing is best done in private, confidential spaces with highly trained professionals, where the focus is on meeting your specific needs in nuanced, regular and sophisticated ways.   Learning, on the other hand, is all the DIY, self-help work that you can do to enhance your healing and get yourself as far down the path as possible.  However, if and when we find ourselves emotionally dysregulated, flooded with painful memories, trapped in self-sabotaging thought loops and repeating painful relationship patterns – that kind of healing work is best done with the help of a trained professional.  

My online programs are designed for learning and capacity building, for getting new ideas, trying on new interpretive frameworks and working on interpersonal skill development.  These things most certainly enhance any healing work that you may need to do, but they cannot replace healing.  

Healing: A Transformative, Emotional Process 

Inherent, organic intelligence: It emerges within you, in response to a wound that you are still carrying from past experiences. 

Self-connection:  An introspective self-discovery process, that often involves delving into our emotions, thoughts, and past experiences to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.

Self-Acceptance: Central to healing is our willingness to identify, accept and face our past wounds or pain. Instead of burying or denying our experiences, we heal when we acknowledge and address past traumas, painful past experiences, and the various ways we learned to adapt to or manage those experiences. 

Self-compassion: This is a cornerstone of healing. When we “go inside” we often discover memories, feelings and painful beliefs that we’ve been avoiding for a long time. Treating ourselves gently, with kindness, understanding, and patience makes it easier to accept our personal vulnerabilities and struggles, and creates a safe and supportive environment to process these emotions.

Courage and capacity building: Healing involves feeling the things that have remained unfelt, and learning to re-regulate our nervous systems so that we aren’t living from a state of hyperarousal or apathy. Each of our healing paths have their own timing, pacing and intensity.

Learning, on the other hand, focuses more on acquiring knowledge, skills, and understanding. It focuses on intellectual growth, gaining insights, and adapting to new information. 

As we have new experiences, we adapt and learn new frameworks, skills and ways of being and perceiving. As we learn, we are empowered to make informed decisions, adapt to change, and evolve as individuals. Learning is a proactive approach to life, driven by curiosity and a desire for personal and professional development.

Learning: A Dynamic, Expansive Process 

Curiosity: At the heart of learning lies curiosity – the burning desire to explore, understand, and get more clarity in our lives. Learning involves questioning what we were taught, testing out new hypotheses and enjoying trying new things.

Adaptability: As we learn, we become more adaptable, which helps us to thrive in a constantly changing world. We learn new information, new frameworks, new ways of perceiving and interpreting old situations, and thus we also become more flexible in our thinking and better able to embrace ambiguity and unpredictability.  Learning encourages us to step outside our comfort zones and embrace novel perspectives, helping us stay alive, attuned and aware of ourselves and others. 

Empowerment: Learning empowers us with an expanded understanding of the world and a wider range of ways to respond to the world.  As our understanding of ourselves and others deepens, we become empowered to make more informed choices in our lives. Knowledge fosters personal growth and enables us to contribute in more life-affirming ways to ourselves and others. 

Transformation: We gain new knowledge, our perspectives may shift, biases may be challenged, and our personal beliefs may evolve. Learning provides opportunities for personal development, helping us become more empathetic, open-minded, and compassionate individuals. 

I often experience learning and healing like a mutually beneficial feedback loop: 

The more we heal, the more open we become to learning, as our unresolved emotional triggers no longer hijack our intellectual and personal growth. And, the more we learn, the more we enhance and support our healing with tools to understand our experiences and emotions, which in turn help us cope with challenges more effectively.

Healing centers on acknowledging and resolving past wounds, often with the aim of moving forward and finding closure. Learning, however, focuses on acquiring new information and developing updated skills to enhance our understanding and capabilities.

Healing takes patience, self-compassion, and vulnerability, while learning focuses more on curiosity, openness, and our willingness to embrace change.

How have you experienced the difference between healing and learning?  I’d love to know.  Leave a comment below.

1 Comment

  1. Wayne palmeter

    I think this is really good. it reflects my own experience of healing and learning. My psychotherapy was complimented with self-education by reading about the subjects of my therapy such as depression and trauma.Self-education helped me to participate in therapy more fully and confidently.

    Reply

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