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Why It Is a Lie That Time Heals All Wounds
It is difficult losing someone you love, whether it is caused by a death or from a breakup. You may battle with various emotions or reactions, which is a normal for the different stages of grief.
You have seen people who, after breaking up, give the impression that they have moved on. Sometimes, they seem to do it almost immediately. You see the photos on social media of them drunk at party and surrounded by hoards of people having “fun”. Or there may be cryptic status updates with quotes from anyone from Buddha to Adele.
Yet what is not on display are the nights they spend crying, asking for other people’s advice and obsessing. It may take weeks, months or even years before they can finally move on.
In fact, there are seven stages of grief according to the Kubler-Ross cycle:1
- Shock – Feeling numb with disbelief protects you emotionally from being overwhelmed.
- Denial – Once the shock wears off, you can’t believe this is happening and everything feels surreal.
- Anger – The next stage will give way to feeling angry and even lashing out at others.
- Bargaining – You feel very confused and as a result, you look for desperate ways out of this anguish that you feel.
- Depression – A period of sadness takes over and you may be reflective of what was lost. You may feel lonely or in despair.
- Testing – The reality is starting to sink in and you may go through experimenting with things to do that may help you to move on.
- Acceptance – In the final stage, you will have accepted the situation and started to move forward.
It’s never easy to get through all these stages, but reaching the last stage of grief is essential for everyone to live on. Everyone will experience the stages of grief differently because the relationships we have are different and the way we handle emotions is not the same.
For someone mourning over a death, acceptance does not mean you are okay with the loss.
It is more that you have accepted the reality that they are no longer here. Even though you still think about them, the way you think about them has changed.
Your focus is different. Previously, you may have been engulfed in the stages of grief but your life has settled back into an old (or new) routine. Even though life may never again be the same, you are moving forward and may even start feeling more hopeful about the future.
For someone mourning the end of a relationship, acceptance means opening up to a new life.
With high insight, you can see why the relationship didn’t work out and why you are better off for it.
When your phone goes, you no longer hope that it will be your ex. You don’t check up on them on their social media as you no longer feel interested or concerned about what they are doing in their life.
They are not on a pedestal and you are either dating other people, have met someone else, or are happily single. You no longer hope you will get back together
To truly move on, don’t rely on time.
It is not that time heals wounds, it has more to do with the fact that time has passed and you have done something to enable healing.2
This could be crying, having reflection, or refocusing your energy. The stages of grief may not be the same for everyone, and people heal in different ways.
Grieving is normal as it comes as a result of loving. By not fighting the stages of grief, it will enable you to start working towards a future that does not feel as dark.3
Accepting support from others doesn’t mean you are weak.
It is ok to let your guard down and turn to friends or family for support. Surround yourself with love and those who have your best interest at heart. They will help you to be strong when you do not know how to be strong for yourself.
For the people who do not have a strong network of friends or family, life sometimes has a magical way of bringing new people into our lives just when we need them.
You can also speak to your doctor who may be able to put you in touch with a support group. Your doctor can also give you advice on finding a counsellor if you would like one.
Not only do positive distractions make you happier, but also inspire you to grow.
Find avenues to allow your mind to focus on something else. For example, you could try writing, reading or drawing.
It could also be prayers, meditation or in some other way with which you can identify. For instance, I enjoy reading quantum physics or astrophysics journals, and it also reminds me of the bigger picture of life and our universe.
There is always a positive outlet to channel your emotions.
There’s no need to push yourself too hard, take your time to move on.
If you are not quite there yet, know that this is also okay. Take your time.
And if you still feel a little broken, know this: you are not broken, light still shines perfectly through every one of those cracks.
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