Time Heals?

time heals“Time heals all wounds”…I’ve given some thought to this famous quote and decided that it is a harmful “old wives” tale.

My perspective is based on personal experience. Having lived more than a half-century. I have a wealth of experiences under my belt that have harmed, hurt, or negatively influenced me in one way or another. 

What I can say for time, with regard to healing emotional pain is that it serves two purposes. but falls short in one major way…

Time Takes the Edge Off

My first example, on the surface, seems so silly and inconsequential, that to most other people, it will seem neutral, not a problem at all.

I was leaving a teaching position mid-year and my co-workers organized a bon-voyage party. It was scheduled after school (about 5:30) right before the winter holiday break. I assumed that everyone was bringing food and because of my brain crazies making me feel rushed, I brought a glass bowl to work and stopped at a grocery store to pick up a salady thng. I transferred it into my bowl and went to the shindig. When I arrived, I realized that we weren’t having a meal, only desserts. I put my dish off to the side–on a counter away from the other goodies. I figured I would just snatch my bowl on the way out.

However, mid-way through the evening, the host walked into the family room, got everyone’s attention, and while holding my bowl, questioned the group, “Who brought the potato salad?”

Heat ran from my face through my chest and into my stomach. I timidly confessed. Andrea placed it with the desserts and I laughed it off.

Inwardly, however, I have lived with the shame and embarrassment of that moment. for. years.

There was really nothing to be done. Over time there is a certain comfort that I now have with this story. Time has taken the edge off of the sharp edges of the shame feeling. the memory has lost its power and the strength of feeling like “a hot mess” has faded.

Time Gives Perspective

Then some situations take time to see the experience from a new viewpoint. 

When I was in middle school, I met a friend at a halfway point and we would walk together to school. Now, when I arrived at our spot early, I would walk to her house and wait inside for her. But if I was running behind, she would leave without me. Even if I was less than a block away, she would walk past our meeting place and continue on her way without looking for me. 

You see, I was not where I was supposed to be–on time. As a result, I would walk to the other side of the road and walk nearly parallel to her the remaining three blocks to school. 

Once, we arrived at school, neither of us would mention the event and we carried on as if nothing unusual or out of the ordinary occurred.

It is only with time that I’ve been able to analyze what we each achieved through the situation. She got to feel power and control. I got to keep the peace.) I’m sure there are additional layers here, but this is just a summary–not a full-blown explanation about why this served us then, or how it caused problems for us in the future… (oy vay!)

True Healing

time healsThis is where things get complicated.

Real life is messy. I’ve gotten married and divorced. I’ve worked through infertility and adoption. Raising children has been and continues to be rewarding and complicated. The through line in all three of these areas is that the healing has taken time AND effort.

I’ve been in therapy, had coaching gotten lots of counsel from loved ones, meditated, exercised, and journaled.

These experiences have made me the person I am today. David Richo, who is a psychotherapist, teacher, and writer once said,

“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.”

That is really the ultimate goal here. With time, we can access and utilize resources to help us on this messed up journey that we call…LIFE. As I’ve told my kids over and over,

“Everyone has their shit. It doesn’t matter if their life looks perfect on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat. Everyone has their shit and this (whatever it is) is our shit.”

Hopefully, this will help them and me to remember to stop, feel the feelings, and lean into the healing. This is part of my human experience. 

You see time is tricky. Life is complicated. Emotional wounds are complex.

But that’s okay because healing…is a journey,

not a destination.

Logo Lisa

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