Anchoring periods of expansion with human healing

When asked if it was possible for someone to rehab on their own, my favorite television doctor made the following observation.

Treatment is not a solo process. It’s an interpersonal experience, and it must be done with other people.

His insight, though, is not exclusive to people with substance abuse problems.

Because even if we have never taken a drink or done a drug in our life, it’s still hard to change alone. All personal transformation requires a reorientation from self towards the other.

Buber called this the mystery of reciprocity, or healing though meeting. He believed that there was a spiritual quality of our interpersonal connection where the sense of self receded and was replaced by the experience of we.

Here’s one way to prove that out. Think about the many ways you have changed the most the past five years.

Did you make it out alive because you carried those difficulties on our own?

Did you transform into a better version of yourself entirely on your own steam?

Of course not. Doing so would only have intensified your pain. It’s more likely that your changes were accomplished not so much on your own, but by finding another person or persons who brought something to you.

Not that you can’t change on your own. But our deepest understanding of self develops within the context of other people. If we are serious about the growth of this thing up here we call the brain, interpersonal connectedness is the answer. Even if it’s just one other person.

To quote the famous scripture, where two or three gather in my name, the divine is with them.

Bottom line is, we can’t heal alone, and even if we could, we wouldn’t want to.

Standing too much on our own without the resources of others can make us vulnerable to relapsing into our former selves. 

How are you creating connections where healing naturally emerges?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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