Have you ever sliced your finger while chopping vegetables, been in a car accident so terrible that you went to urgent care, or needed surgery to fix a broken bone, failing organ or any other ailment?
If you said yes, welcome to the club!
How long did it take you to find a first aid kit or call for medical help? Seconds, minutes, days? Most people take action as soon as they realize that they need medical attention. Sure, some people put it off, but that’s not the norm.
Now, think back to the last time your heart broke. How long did it take you to get help for your emotional pain? Seconds, minutes, days? Or was it more like weeks, months, years, or not at all?
People often treat a broken heart quite differently than they treat a physical ailment.
We have urgent care for broken bones, but not for broken hearts.
It sounds absurd to imagine a doctor looking at a broken leg and saying,
“Time heals all wounds,” or “Give it some time.”
Yet that’s exactly what people say to grievers.
During our Grief Recovery Seminars, we often ask participants if they’re still grieving a loss that happened over five, ten, or even 20 years ago. Sadly, many are. If time healed all wounds, wouldn’t 20 years be enough?
Waiting for the pain to heal is like waiting for the air to come back into a flat tire. You can wait, and wait, and wait, but until you take action the tire will stay flat. Time only passes, it doesn’t heal.
No judgment intended, though. Recovering from loss isn’t a topic most of us learned about in school, or from other people. But perpetuating the myth that time heals is harmful because it’s just not true.
So why do people say it?
Because the intensity of your feelings might decrease over time, but that doesn't mean time alone is what’s doing the healing. It’s what you do within a particular time frame, the action you take, that will help you complete the emotional grieving process.
Incomplete grief limits your capacity for joy and happiness. It limits your ability to function in the world and to be fully open to connecting with other people and experiences. That’s no way to live.
If you’re grieving a loss, it’s time to stop waiting to feel better and to take action. It will require courage and an open mind. You owe it to yourself.
If you liked this blog you might also like:
Photo by: 123rf.com