Featured photo courtesy of Carlie Currier
Article by Dr. Lisa Avila
The idea that time heals all wounds is a lovely, almost romantic sentiment. The suggestion is that distance from the event, in the form of time, is all that is required to heal a broken heart or other form of betrayal. The reality is that I have not seen this to be the truth.
Time and distance from a wound merely help take the sting out of it. The wound moves from acute, which can be thought of as a sharp pain, to chronic, which may be thought of as a dull throbbing pain. That is not healing anything. It is merely moving one’s emotional pain from one category to another.
If it never really resolves into a place of peace, that begs the question: what is required to heal a wound in the most complete way possible? If personal history can’t be changed, and memories cannot be wiped clean, then what options are available to achieve some measure of peace with what transpired?
The answer to that is a working definition of forgiveness, one that resonates for you personally. I have written about this topic before, but it is very appropriate reminder this time of year.
In my experience, most people seem to resonate with one of two definitions of forgiveness:
1- S/he did the best s/he could with the emotional tools s/he had at the time of the situation.
2- Give up the hope that the past could have happened any differently.
These definitions may seem very similar, and in many ways they are. What I have learned over the years in my practice is that the particular words chosen can be everything. Something said one way can be of no particular help to a person who is struggling and in pain. But, tweak that sentence, sometimes slightly, and it can open the door to what is sometimes a stunning level of healing that could have been elusive for many, many years.
See if, when applied to certain incidences from the past that still cause pain, one of these definitions can soothe your heart and mind (and thus your body). Anything that makes transition easier can be one of the greatest gifts; it is a gift that will keep on giving.
As we enter into this new way of functioning–healing wounds through forgiveness–why bring anything from the past that isn’t necessary? Instead, forget the belief that time limits or facilitates our healing. Allow forgiveness, for others and for ourselves–to do the heavy lifting.
From my heart, I wish you all peace and joy (and love!) in 2017…..