We’re told our entire lives that time heals all wounds. That eventually, we won’t feel the pain that comes from trauma or loss as if some magical power just one day makes it completely disappear. It creates this fairy tale idea that pain simply ceases. I’m sure it was created in good intention to give those grieving or dealing with trauma hope for a brighter future. But I’ve come to the conclusion that this societal belief does more harm than good. No one can heal yourself for you. Time cannot take away the pain that you feel. By believing that one day our pain will simply diminish, we don’t allow ourselves to look within to mend the parts of our hearts that will continue to hold onto it. That’s not to say we should forget loved ones who have passed, or that we won’t feel that small sting when we remember certain events in our lives; but it it does mean that our hearts will be able to let go in a way that allows us to live without resentment or fear.
Healing is a choice. It doesn’t matter how much comfort you receive from friends and family. It doesn’t matter how much sunshine you get, or how much meditation you do. Those things help in healing, but they are not the foundation for healing itself. They’re bandages, made to help your wounds keep from festering. But without looking within to target that wound, to give it the medicine and antibiotic it needs to recover, your heart begins to hold onto it. This is the creation of fear. It is the creation of blame, and resentment. It allows us to believe that because something happened to us rather than our actions hurting someone else that we are not capable of healing it ourselves; and in turn we subconsciously adapt this pain to our identity. It’s hardly a choice for this to happen. It takes incredible awareness and consciousness to prevent that from happening, something most of us are not equipped with. It’s being able to acknowledge this pain, this identity we’ve allowed ourselves to make an agreement with, that creates change. It creates healing.
When we buy into the belief that our healing doesn’t come from within, we become someone we are not. Our fear owns us. I am a victim. I am worthless. I am damaged. This thought process that comes with pain, suddenly becomes part of our identity. We begin acting in ways we never would have before. Anyone who gets too close to that wound in our hearts causes us to lash out. We become bitter. It takes a lot to break that kind of self-inflicted identity, and some people may never get passed it. We don’t like when our identity is called out. It makes us uncomfortable because we know that it’s true, and we know that we can be better. It’s hard to face that part of yourself. I’ve come to the conclusion that some people simply are not strong enough to look at that demon, because it does take incredible courage and strength to stare it in the eye and take its power away. It’s easier to ignore it. But why is living with a burden easier than living with peace? If you take a moment and close your eyes, and look inside yourself to that moment that redefined you, you will immediately have the instinct to run. It’s too hard to feel it again. You probably already have that moment in mind. So now, look at it. Feel it. And then, relax your shoulders, breathe, and release.
It sounds simpler than it is. Letting go of scars that our hearts carry is a process. Your awareness of it is what creates the change. Every time someone triggers that pain, your awareness will allow you to move passed the initial fear of it. You can separate yourself from the reaction, and actively focus on healing it instead. It won’t work every time. You will forget, you will stumble, you relapse so to speak. But there is strength in being aware of those scars. Whether society tells us those scars are “big” or “small” doesn’t matter. There is no scale for pain. If it has effected you—if it has effected your identity—then it’s big enough. But you are stronger than your pain. You are beautiful. You are worthy of love. You are not damaged. So begin by reminding yourself of your true identity so that you may step into your authentic self. You are not defined by your pain. There is strength in healing; but only you can heal yourself.
“We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder. You always have the choice.” -Dalai Lama