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The Pendulum Swing Of Healing – How To Recognize It & Find Your Balance

Jessica is a compassionate nurse who has found even greater fulfillment helping women as a Self-Love Coach and Breathwork Facilitator. She is the founder of The Self Love Club & hosts women's wellness retreats in addition to her online services.

Executive Contributor Jessica LaGoy

Healing is often depicted as a linear journey, but in reality, it resembles a pendulum swing. At times, we feel profound progress, only to swing back into old patterns or pain. This ebb and flow can be disheartening, but understanding it as a natural part of the healing process can empower us to maintain balance. In this article, we’ll explore the dynamics of the pendulum swing in healing, how to recognize its phases, and strategies to restore equilibrium.

3D rendered illustration of Newton cradle.

What is the pendulum swing of healing?

The pendulum swing of healing refers to the oscillation between periods of apparent progress and moments of relapse or setback. Rather than a straight path, healing is often cyclical, with each swing back providing an opportunity for deeper understanding and growth. Another way to think of it is coming back around to a topic to dive deeper into another layer of healing and understanding (I think of onions or cakes when I think of layers, thanks Donkey). This concept highlights the nonlinear nature of recovery, emphasizing that setbacks are not failures but integral parts of the journey.

Check out this article about Trauma & Healing to learn more.

Recognizing the phases of the pendulum swing

Phase 1: Progress & growth

In this phase, you experience tangible improvements in your well-being. Symptoms may lessen, and you feel more in control and optimistic. It's essential to celebrate these moments as they reinforce your efforts and build confidence.

Phase 2: The swingback

Despite progress, you might encounter a period where old symptoms resurface or new yet similar challenges arise. This swing back can be disheartening but recognizing it as a natural part of the healing process can help mitigate its impact.

Phase 3: Reflection & learning

After the swing back, take time to reflect on what triggered this phase. Understanding the causes can provide insights and tools to handle future swings more effectively.

Examples of extreme pendulum swings in society

In society, we often witness collective swings that reflect underlying unhealed issues. These extreme pendulum swings can manifest in various cultural phenomena, highlighting how unresolved pain and trauma can influence group behavior.

The impact of unhealed cultural programming

These extreme pendulum swings in society are symptoms of deeper, unhealed wounds within the collective psyche. They often arise from a place of pain and a desire to reclaim power, yet they perpetuate cycles of harm and division. 

Recognizing these patterns allows us to address the underlying issues with compassion and work towards a more balanced and healed society, rather than hopping on the bandwagon and contributing to more toxicity under the guise of “wokeness”. Here are a few examples that I personally believe are doing a lot of damage to those who are unconsciously swept up in it:

Cancel culture

Cancel culture exemplifies a societal pendulum swing where the pursuit of accountability often tips into public shaming and ostracism. While initially intended to hold individuals accountable for harmful actions, cancel culture can become excessively punitive. This shift reflects unhealed collective trauma and a desire for quick justice, often ignoring the complexities of personal growth and redemption.

See what the Therapy Group of DC has to say about the impacts on mental health.


The rise of men-hating as a backlash to patriarchy and misogyny is another example. While advocating for gender equality is crucial, this pendulum swing manifests as generalized animosity towards men. This extreme response often stems from unaddressed wounds inflicted by a history of gender-based oppression and violence, resulting in further division rather than healing.

Narcissistic "self-love"

The concept of self-love has been distorted into a form of narcissism, where superficial self-indulgence is mistaken for genuine self-care. This pendulum swing can be seen in social media trends promoting excessive vanity and self-obsession. True self-love involves self-compassion and growth, but this extreme reflects unresolved self-worth issues and the cultural pressure to appear perfect.

Boss-babe hustle culture

The hustle culture, glorified by phrases like "boss babe," epitomizes the extreme swing towards relentless ambition and productivity. This cultural trend often celebrates overwork and burnout as symbols of success. It arises from unhealed insecurities and societal pressures to constantly achieve, neglecting the importance of rest and balanced living.

Strategies to restore balance

1. Maintain self-compassion

During setbacks, practice self-compassion. Understand that healing is a journey, and being kind to yourself fosters resilience. Remind yourself that it’s okay to have setbacks and that they do not define your progress.

2. Seek support

Don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted friends, family, a qualified coach or a therapist. Support systems can provide perspective, encouragement, and practical advice to navigate through difficult times.

3. Reflect & adapt

Use setbacks as learning opportunities. Reflect on what caused the swing back and adapt your strategies accordingly. This could involve modifying your routines, seeking new coping strategies or addressing underlying issues with therapy or other healing techniques such as breathwork.

4. Re-establish routine

Routines provide structure and stability. When you swing back, reaffirming your daily habits can help regain a sense of control and normalcy. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient rest.

Embracing the journey

Remember, the pendulum swing of healing is a sign of progress, not failure. Each swing back is an opportunity to grow stronger and more resilient. By recognizing the phases, maintaining self-compassion, seeking support, reflecting on your experiences, and re-establishing routines, you can navigate the oscillations and find your balance again and again.

Final tip: The role of meditation & breathwork

Meditation and breathwork can be powerful tools in managing the pendulum swing. They help you stay grounded, increase self-awareness, reduce stress and emotionally regulate yourself. A regular practice can enhance your ability to recognize the early signs of a swing back, allowing you to address it proactively.

Healing is a dynamic and ever-evolving process throughout your life. Embrace the pendulum swing as a natural part of your journey. If you’re facing a setback, remember it’s an opportunity for growth. Share your experiences, seek support, and stay committed to your path. 

If you need guidance, consider reaching out to a mental health professional and/or qualified coach…and if you’re a Millennial or GenX woman you can reach out to me!

Follow me on Instagram or visit my website for more info!


Jessica LaGoy, Self-Love & Breathwork Coach

Jessica helps women embody their true selves & create lives of fulfillment throught the power of self love and breathwork. She's an RN with over 15yrs of clinical practice, an experienced Self-love Coach and a Certified Trauma-informed Breathwork Facilitator. She specializes in emotional regulation and grief management with a holistic health perspective.



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