They asked her, “can time heal you?” She answered, “You are the key to your healing, not time. Hurt, trauma and dense conditioning will continue sitting in your mind, impacting your emotions and behavior, until you go inward. What heals is self-love, learning to let go, self-awareness and building new habits.” – Yung Pueblo
The old adage “time heals all wounds” can be uplifting in a moment of pain, giving us something to cling to in order to feel better, believing that when “enough time” has passed we will feel all better. But the truth is, time doesn’t heal wounds. It’s what we DO with the time that either heals the wound or leaves it to fester and grow.
The unfortunate and rather unfair part about pain and trauma is that whether or not the event was “our fault” healing is always our responsibility. I’m using trauma loosely here. It can refer to PTSD from war or going through a tough breakup or losing a job, trauma is being used in reference to any experience that results in an intense emotional charge associated with the event.
Time won’t help us unless we help ourselves. Buried pain tends to turn into faulty belief systems about ourselves, others and the world that keep us stuck in loops of resistance and stagnation. The longer we leave our wounds unattended, the more likely it is that those new belief systems will sink deeper and deeper into our subconscious where they begin, unknowingly to us, to drive 95% of our thoughts, perceptions, attitudes, emotions and behavior.
And then, even if we don’t realize it, we often stay stuck because it validates our trauma and pain. “Well of course I find myself in this cycle, _____ ______ ______ happened to me. What else could I or anyone else expect?” At that point we have become our own abuser, keeping our hand in the fire so we can remember how badly we were initially burned.
So if time doesn’t heal, what does? Distance. Emotional distance. Emotional distance comes from doing the inner work, which does not involve overanalyzing the story of your pain and trauma or reliving it over and over again. It involves identifying the stories you told yourself in order to cope with and make sense of the trauma when it occurred. “I’m not good enough; I’m not strong enough; the people I love and trust will hurt me; people always leave me; I’m not good at relationships; I’m not smart enough; life always hurts; people always take advantage of me; I always have to learn the hard way; I can’t trust anyone; I can’t trust myself…” etc. etc.
Any time we experience anything that has an emotional charge for us, so basically anytime we feel anything, we attach a thought to it. Most of the time we aren’t even aware that we are doing it. Those thoughts become our belief systems. The larger the emotional charge, the stronger that belief system becomes and the longer we push down pain and ignore healing our wounds, the more those belief systems begin to drive all of our behavior.
It’s a beautiful thing really, the wounds that are pushed down the farthest and that require the most healing will begin to drive most of our behavior and perceptions to try to get us to PAY attention. Our wounds become like giant flashing road signs yelling, “Hey, look over here!!” Until we realize that the only way out is through, no one else can do the inner work for us and although we have many numbing and distracting tools at our disposal, we are robbing ourselves of a beautiful life by playing small and ignoring our pain.
And the truth is, whether we are running from it and or numbing it, we will have to deal with our pain and pasts one way or another. That fight you consistently have with your spouse that never goes anywhere and repeatedly comes up? Unresolved pain. That issue you have with your boss that never gets better and consistently comes up? Unresolved pain. That annoyance you feel every time so and so says x,y,z? Unresolved pain. Remember that unresolved pain is a compilation of all the limiting stories we have told ourselves that then became ingrained as belief systems. The repetition of the same challenges and cycles you have with the people and situations in your life isn’t indicative that they need to change – – it’s indicative that you do. It’s your own road sign trying to grab your attention and get you to start inquiring about what’s underneath.
If you feel stagnant or stuck or find yourself repeatedly unhappy or irritated with certain things in your life, give yourself the gift of looking a little deeper. Ask yourself, what is my soul trying to tell me and what story have I made up about this that is causing me angst? What areas of my life and past still need healing? Anything that “triggers” you is an area that needs to be healed. And don’t be surprised if it’s something you’ve already done a lot of “work” around. Think of healing like building a house: if you don’t use the right tools, like the ones that are specifically required for the type of house you’re building, you won’t be very effective.
The good news is, healing is possible and doesn’t have to be overwhelming or an uphill battle. The first step? Getting clear on what needs to be healed. Stay tuned next week for part 2 of this series where we will discuss easy, accessible steps to take to begin self-healing.