They say time heals all wounds…does it really?
Is it just time that heals, or is there another ingredient to the healing process?
How can time alone heal an infection? Or a growing cancer cell? How can time alone heal a broken bone?
Do we tend to our physical wounds more prudently than we do our emotional wounds?
Time alone does not heal.
I learned this the hard way after my father’s death.
I loved my father so deeply that the mere thought of not having him around crippled me. I remember as a young girl, every night, I would cry myself to sleep thinking about my father’s death.
And now, this was my reality, and I alone had to make sense of this truth.
There was no handout given to me at the funeral home on how to grieve; what to expect? What is normal, and what is not?
The enormous void I felt in every cell of my body left me mentally, emotionally, and physically paralyzed. There were days that I couldn’t hold my tears, and there were days that I just wanted to curl up in a corner and be left alone.
At times it felt life would never regain normalcy, although I had no idea what the new normal would look or feel like.
Through struggling to stay somehow functional, I kept hearing this phrase over and over again.
Give it time, “time will heal.”
How much time, I wanted to ask? Is there a magic number of days that your pain magically disappears, and you wake up one day and feel normal again?
So I stayed in pain and waited, and waited…
Time was not my friend; as time passed, not only the pain didn’t go away, I was now getting super anxious that why I wasn’t healing? Was there anything wrong with me?
Time passes, sometimes agonizingly slow, other times it flies at the speed of light. All of a sudden, it is the first anniversary of the loss, breakup, or heartbreak, and you are still suffering.
The wound still feels open and fresh.
Sometimes the real pain sets in later, once the shock and the numbness fade away.
If one relies on time alone, one of the two things can happen:
We either keep ruminating over the event and get stuck in time, or we busy ourselves with “doing” and at the most avoid, or numb ourselves to the pain. Either way, the pain still exists deep inside us.
It is easier to avoid dealing with the overwhelming flow of emotions that are running through our bodies when the emotional wound is bleeding.
But, acknowledging, accepting, and processing these emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, and shame is the only way that “with time,” we can feel whole again.
Yet, the new “whole” may feel completely different than what life used to be like before the wound.
Healing is as unique as the wound and the person experiencing it. Your “healing” and my “healing” can be as different as day and night.
Like any physical wounds that need a careful diagnosis and a treatment plan, the emotional wound also needs to be diagnosed, recognized, and processed.
Can we completely heal from the pain?
Some may heal completely and thrive from the pain.
Some healings may leave a scar as a reminder of one’s resilience, and some healings can leave a permanent void like an amputee.
Time will NOT heal you. Only YOU can heal you.
Feel the pain, acknowledge it exists, and honor it. Allow it to speak to you. The emotional wound may not be visible, but the energy and heaviness of it can be felt in the depths of our being.
You have the power to make an impact bigger than the pain; it is said “that the road to wisdom is paid in suffering”. Allow yourself to reflect, ponder, and explore and be present with what is.
Every setback, every wound, every loss, every trauma big or small, can be healed. We have the choice as to where we want to store the memory of the wound.
My healing came when I actively decided to keep the memory of my father alive by celebrating and living his values and morals. My healing began when I choose to keep his memory close to my heart, where love lives. And my healing came when I allowed myself to feel happy without feeling guilty.
And some wounds can be healed once we learn from the pain, grow from it, and allow it to make us stronger. Healing happens when we realize the darkness is a necessary part of becoming whole.
It takes courage to live after a loss.
It takes resilience to rise up after a heartbreak.
It takes tremendous strength to put the pieces back together and move forward after a trauma.
It takes a willingness to find happiness without guilt after enduring an emotional wound.
Saying “time heals all wounds” simply undermines the enormity of the pain.
Time doesn’t heal the wounds, it just teaches us how to live, survive, and eventually with lots of inner work thrive with the pain.