The Healing Powers of Time & Distance

It takes time to heal all wounds. It doesn’t matter if the wound is physical, emotional, or mental. A wound is a wound. If it causes pain, distress, or discomfort, it’s a wound. Everyone is different and experiences emotional and mental pain differently. A situation that may bother one person, may not bother another. This doesn’t mean the circumstance is any less painful for the person experiencing the pain. Outsiders and casual observers do not get to decide how long it takes for another person’s wound to heal. No, some people can’t just get over it. Patience and empathy can go a long way with helping in the healing process.

I had experiences in my life that did not bother me, but I know people that had similar experiences, and it wrecked them. It doesn’t mean they are weak.  Just as it doesn’t mean I am weak when I feel hurt by a situation another person may not feel hurt by. We are all affected by our emotions. We all have reasons for feeling the way we feel. Some reasons are easy to identify, sometimes we have no clue as to why we feel the way we do about a particular situation. The inability to express why we feel hurt doesn’t make it any less palpable. This doesn’t mean we do not need to heal from it. It doesn’t mean we owe anyone an explanation to validate our pain.  Emotional and mental wounds are not visible, but it doesn’t mean they are not there.

I have experienced two pregnancy losses, both occurring before I had children. After the first one, I was understandably upset, but my husband asked me, “how much longer are you going to be like this?” Um…really?  This was the day after my miscarriage. It was so long ago, I cannot say for certain how long I was “like that,” but it was definitely longer than a day. He had no right to question me on how long I was going to be upset. Apparently, he was over it, but I was not. My brother passed away five years ago, and I still haven’t fully healed. My mother will probably never heal from his death.  Death is an emotional wound like no other; it can take years to fully heal from the passing of a loved one. If, you can manage to at all. Only time can heal wounds dealt by death.

I have unhealed emotional wounds because of a situation I created.  It’s my own damn fault. I know it. I haven’t healed from the harm I have done to myself, and it will take as long as it takes. It’s been more than seven years, and it could be seven more.  The problem with the mental and emotional wounds we cause to ourselves, we cannot get away from ourselves.  I have to deal with the problem. The passage of time is making it easier for me to deal with these self-induced emotional wounds. The time it takes is my business, and mine alone. The casual observer’s opinion on how long it should take does not matter.

I have found distance can be another healer. Not the running away and ignoring the issue kind of distance (that would be avoidance), but the kind of distance I often need in order to reflect on what is causing pain. It’s like a cut with a band-aid on it. You know it is there, it still may even hurt a little, but it’s not constantly staring you in the face, begging you to pick at the scab, causing it to bleed all over again. Distance isn’t about out-of-sight, out-of-mind; it’s about reflective healing.  It’s usually a technique I use when I feel like I have been hurt by someone.  It could be caused by a friend that said/did something to me, and it hurt my feelings. I need to step away from that friend to process why what they said/did hurt me the way it did.  I won’t be gone forever. Time and distance will help me heal from these emotional wounds. Hell, I may even come to the conclusion what they said was right, or that I overreacted in the first place. Or, I may come to the conclusion I do not want to be friends with this person.  Taking a step-back can help me realize how and why I feel a certain way. Sometimes, I have a hard time distancing myself, and I am relieved when the other party does it for me.

There are times when I know I will get over the pain caused by someone; I’ve been dumped a lot, so lots of experience in that department.  However, I know that the only way to do it is through time (and distance). I need the time, and that time is based on my needs. My healing time-table is not based on the needs of anyone else.  From now on, I will repeat the following to myself…

DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR TAKING THE TIME AND/OR DISTANCE YOU NEED TO HEAL! Period!


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