**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
Relationships are undeniably part of healing. There are parts of ourselves that we would never see or have access to in the absence of being seen and held by others. This is as true for our physical healing as it is for psychological and emotional wellbeing.
To restore health, we need to be in relationships with others where we feel safe. We need to feel valued and accepted just as we are. Only then can we begin to let down our defenses and allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
Through our vulnerability, we can access the parts of ourselves that need healing. When we begin to see things clearly, we can better connect the dots of the past. I recently had such an experience during a conversation with my current partner.
Before then, I had not realized the many ways that I'd been manipulated and controlled in a previous relationship. I had buried these memories so deep that I didn't even know they were there. But as I talked about my experience, the memories began to surface.
And as I voiced what happened out loud, I could finally see the pattern of abuse I had endured. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. The woman I was in that relationship was trying to survive. My boundaries were loose, and my self-esteem had been fractured.
But I'm not that woman anymore. I've come a long way in my healing journey. And I now know that I am worthy of love and respect.
This process of talking and being seen by another person was crucial to my healing. It allowed me to access parts of myself that I had kept hidden away. And it helped me to make sense of my past and begin to move on from it.
Self-reflection has its blindspots. There are things we cannot see until it lands on another person. That's why dialogue is such a vital part of tending our wounds. It allows us to be seen in a way we cannot see ourselves. And it is through this mutual seeing that we can begin to transform.
All too often, we get bogged down by our past. We hold onto the hurt and the pain, unable to let go. But when we open up and allow others to see us, we give ourselves a chance to heal. To move on from the past and into a brighter future.