Yesterday, a reader new in recovery asked us to share the image of a model who was encouraged to draw designs on her thighs instead of cutting herself. I loved the idea of transforming pain into artistic expression for a new kind of beauty. I immediately posted the image. What is the difference between body art in the form of tattoos and body art from henna or pens, or jewelry, I thought? Who could object? Body art has been around since the beginning of time, after all.
But then I saw the chain of hundreds of comments about this image, many of them hateful, both about cutting, hurting oneself, and girls’ bodies. The Internet provides the perfect platform for saying whatever you want and not holding back. The take-away from these particular comments might lead a person to think that the manly way to hurt oneself is to drink, drug, and assault others. That way everybody gets hurt. Is that not pretty sick, too? We live in a world of hurt, no question about it. Presidential candidates say whatever they want and then insist they are good guys without malice. It’s a kind of gas lighting. Let’s not let anyone get away with gas lighting.
Who Has The Power To Heal
We all do. Words have the power to hurt, but they also have the power to heal. Every single one of us has choices every minute of every day. Will we feel bad or better? Will we harm others or help? As the world seems to get crueler and more dangerous, there is a kinder side and solidarity emerging, too. People are sharing resources, tools, and inspiration like never before. They are fighting back. In our field, exploring questions about addiction, relationships, pain and recovery are allowing us to understand and find relief. Support no longer depends on buying a self help book and trying to apply it on our own. Support is everywhere, and will spread farther if we actively support it.
Ten Ways To Heal
Turning pain and grief into art is one rich resource we’re hearing about more and more every day. Grown ups are coloring, learning musical instruments, singing, painting, knitting. This is recovery we don’t see reported in the news. You name it. Lost resources for artistic expression are being uncovered. Creativity that used to be a part of everyday life is new again and provides healing. What kind of creativity provides the courage to change?
- Writing: journaling helps to understand, refocus, and express feelings
- Music: singing, learning a musical instrument and listening bring joy and feeling back and inspire people to get out of themselves
- Comedy: laughing is a great source of joy and promotes health in every way–as long as humor isn’t turned against someone else
- Recovery art: any kind of artistic endeavor has the power to heal both those who need an outlet for expression and those who see the work, whatever form it takes
- Animals: working with animals, having them as friends and family members are a daily source of healing
- Inspirational Quotes: who doesn’t love them and feel just a little bit better when we see them in our feed
- Inspirational Images: people make and share beautiful symbolic images and they, too, have the power to heal
- Video: videos that show love, caring, rescues and other stories of positivity also have the power to improve daily quality of life
- Cooking: what a creative act cooking can be
- Reading: you’re reading now
Add the love of nature, the God of one’s choosing, and the support of other people into the mix and recovery offers it all.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By Leslie Glass