An outlier incident has crushed the economy, hurled masses into unemployment, closed schools, and forced isolation. The global pandemic has generated a health crisis tsunami of suffering, anxiety, depression, and addiction, which is why our inner and outer healing must be a priority for overall health and well-being. Authors Edwards and Jackson view inner and outer health as the wholeness required to adapt to an ever-changing environment. They explain the differences and connections between inner and outer health, as well as the importance of altering one’s environment to secure the essence of inner peace and be an extension of one’s own perceptual systems when their own are compromised. Spoken from lived experience and research, Drs. Edwards and Jackson describe the impact to a person’s well-being when inner and outer health are not in harmony and discuss the fortitude that it takes to focus on one’s own healing – not the healing solutions chosen by someone else. Focusing and committing to inner and outer healing positively can affect one’s personal and professional lives and the communities around them if prioritized.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our physical, emotional, and mental stamina has been challenged to accommodate our ever-changing environment. To adapt to this change, we must incorporate inner and outer healing. Healing is recovery and restoration, involving the whole person, personal beliefs and values, sense of identity, and community of support, which frequently includes connecting to an ultimate being. Consequently, healing is the recovery and rebuilding of well-being in the individual, as well as the individual in relation to personal spirituality, community, and environment. How we receive and respond to uncertainties can directly impact our inner and outer being.
The inner being encompasses the mind and spirit, and the outer being involves social relatedness, the physical body, and the environment. Both the inner and outer being are strongly connected, and we cannot have one exist without the other. For instance, the outcomes we create in the outer environment are motivated by what goes on inside ourselves. Although we all have our own temperaments concerning one side versus the other, we flourish best when the complexities maturing in each direction synchronize with each other. Everyone has an innate healing ability. With minor adjustments in our daily lives, we can improve the capability of our bodies to heal. We can also implement that same healing ability in the workplace, school, and community, which is why healing must be a priority in our lives to accomplish an optimal balanced inner and outer being.
Inner healing is of the utmost importance and should be prioritized. Inner healing is a holistic treatment intended to help people find peace naturally and inclusively. It also considers physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of an individual’s effort to heal their entire being. Regardless of what we are dealing with or have been through, the healing process begins internally. The effects derived from the reason for needing healing in the first place, whether it is abuse or ill health, or the pain and memory housed inwardly in one’s mind, represent the center of one’s life’s perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors that require healing. Therefore, healing is a form of recovery. Inner healing that is focused on the road to recovery is not impractical; however, we must be devoted to the process.
While spirituality plays a key role in health, healing, and well-being, culture, gender, ethnic background, and lifestyle could be an advantage or detriment to a person’s efforts toward inner healing, health, behavioral changes, and satisfaction,. Beliefs that spirituality is especially important in one’s life can answer many problems. Therefore, one’s belief system plays a major part in how one views healing. Because everyone has diverse perspectives and disparate views, the concept of healing for one person may mean something different to someone else.
To achieve healing, we must adopt a holistic approach to recovery, which means addressing exercise, diet, stress, beliefs about self, learning positive coping skills, self-care, and addressing personal spiritual needs. Adopting these methods can promote inner healing. The benefits to doing so are endless. Therefore, by prioritizing inner wellness, we can positively influence our outer health and healing.
Outer healing is a must. Once we have accomplished healing our inner being, to achieve optimal balance in life, our outer being must be in sync. In our environment, we encounter numerous outer experiences, such as friends, family, work, societal issues, and nature. Many individuals are not truly sensitive or aware of their environment and role within the surroundings that affect their capability to find rest, peace, and liveliness. Some of these outer experiences are distracting and stressful. Therefore, we must audit our surroundings and identify how the outer environment makes us feel, determining whether or not it reinforces our healing, while taking an inventory of how we can improve the things we have the capability to change. Change is not always easy, but it is necessary, especially to alleviate outer barriers for the external healing process to begin. For instance, we can make a physical space that supports a better quality of life and implement healing components, such as exercise, meditation, better nutrition, hobbies, exposure to nature, and therapy. We must be actively mindful about our outer being to maximize our environment for a total healing lifestyle.
Making a difference is fully dependent on healing ourselves first.
Healing soothes the soul and contributes to overall wellbeing. But why is it so difficult to achieve inner and outer healing to be our best selves for ourselves and for those around us? It is likely because we are too focused on what others believe healing should be than on what we connect more closely with to consider ourselves whole.
Healing is what keeps our being well. Simply put, being equates to life; well corresponds to good. When put in reverse, wellbeing is a state of a good life, which translates into a sense of wholeness. Wholeness is an optimal balance of the physical, social, mental, and spiritual aspects of self. To be whole stabilizes our healing; therefore, the desired recovery begins with us.
Compromised health affects the whole self, so when our wholeness is impacted, we are minimally able to help those around us, leaving nothing for ourselves. Think of the last airplane flight you took and to the instructions given by the flight attendant related to wearing your oxygen mask: “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.” It is no accident that we are instructed to take care of ourselves first when at risk. Though it is easier said than done, because we tend to try to make a difference by helping others before thinking of the recovery, safety, and healing, we need ourselves. Taking care of ourselves allows us the safety and security to make a difference by helping others. Related to the oxygen mask example, what use are we to others around us if we lack enough oxygen? The same is true for healing, which is why it is extremely important to prioritize ourselves.
We benefit from inner and outer healing in our personal and professional lives. Inner and outer healing can help reduce stress, which decreases the number of stressed individuals within the community, promotes increased energy and productivity that allows us to be fully engaged at home and at work, improves life expectancy, and allows us to give back to the community because we have a more positive outlook on life, are not weighed down by the concerns of life, and are best able mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically to cope.
There are both inner and outer challenges in living. We must prioritize achieving a sense of balance between our inner and outer challenges to find peace. Inner and outer healing creates a sense of wholeness. In addition, we all have varying views on “personal wholeness.” What wholeness means to one person may be significantly different to another. Ultimately, whatever our definition is of “personal wholeness,” we must always aim to solve inner problems with outer solutions based on how we heal ourselves and not chase the healing journey of others.
We must strive to find peace internally, which propels us toward the healing we desire – not based on how others define healing for us. We must focus on the outer issues in our environment and how others see and interact with us. When we master making ourselves a priority internally, then we place ourselves on a greater path to making a difference in the lives of others externally. The little light that others see shining from us is a direct result of the inner and outer healing prioritized from inside.
Asymmetries exist in all environments. Our world consists of acute opinions and actions, opportunities and risks emerging from everywhere, from all sides. Somehow these asymmetries harmonize, evolve and grow together, and balance each other out, which is why our inner and outer healing must be a priority.
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5 Fottler, M. D., Ford, R. C., Roberts, V., & Ford, E. W. (2000). Creating a healing environment: The importance of the service setting in the new consumer-oriented healthcare system. Journal of Healthcare Management, 45(2), 91-106.
6 Skarupski, K. A., Fitchett, G., Evans, D. A., & Mendes de Leon, C. F. (2013). Race differences in the association of spiritual experiences and life satisfaction in older age. Aging & Mental Health, 17(7), 888-895. https://doi.org/ 10.1080/13607863.2013.793285
7 Lengelle, R., Jardine, C., & Bonnar, C. (2017). Writing the self for reconciliation and global citizenship: The inner dialogue and creative voices for cultural healing. Springer.
8 Felgen, J. (2004). A caring and healing environment. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 28(4), 288-301.
- Making Healing a Priority – by Drs. Temika Edwards and Cynthia R. Jackson - August 16, 2021
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