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Why It Is a Lie That Time Heals All Wounds

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]

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Reference

More by this author

J.S. von Dacre

Writer at Lifehack

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Last Updated on February 19, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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