- Jennifer Stafford
Time Alone Does Not Heal
People are hurting and they are hiding their pain...
Believing that we can avoid our hurt, sadness or disappointment is a false narrative that so many of us try to live by and fail. How long can you keep the veil up, how long can the mask stay on? The true answer is that there is a shelf life for hiding from our hurt. If you cannot hide from having the flu or a cold, what makes you believe you can realistically hide from your hurt?
Whether it's rationalizing or distracting ourselves with ambitious pursuits or mindless minutiae, quite often we are doing something to avoid feeling disappointment, sadness or hurt. Some of us have reached mastery when it comes to swallowing our tears, withholding our anger and convincing ourselves that we are not impacted or that we will heal in time. This level of mental trickery can make facing our reality one of the hardest things we will ever do. Sure time helps, but it alone does not truly heal and that is the misconception. Thinking that we can avoid what has bothered us and that it will just go away sets us up for trouble in the long run. Pulling back the mask, dropping the facade and admitting that we are struggling with something emotionally is a significant strength that has been falsely typecast as a weakness.
People from all walks of life are hurting and trying to hide from it because society has said feeling unpleasant feelings is unacceptable. If you realistically believe that you should or will only be happy, excited or joyful all the time, then you are probably battling depression, anxiety or unexplained fluctuations in mood. There is nothing wrong with you, more often than not you don't even need the medication you so desperately rely upon. What you need is to change your mindset by rewriting the narrative you tell yourself. What we mentally feed ourselves is what we believe.
It is absolutely okay to acknowledge that you are hurt, sad or disappointed. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself permission to feel. The error is in not allowing yourself to feel, the error is in being reactive to your unpleasant emotions because you fight so hard to hide from them. Face yourself with courage and tell yourself that no matter how much it hurts the pain is temporary. Because it is. If you are disappointed, admit it to yourself and those involved, it is not about blaming, but validating how you have been impacted. Our emotions should never have the power to creep in as a surprise to us. You do not have to avoid or distract yourself from your hurt and trying to hide from it is like running from your shadow. No matter who you are or where you have come from, trying to adhere to the pressures of "always being happy or okay," is a disparaging way to dance with life. So many people that sit with me talk about how honest they wish they could be in their lives. The facts are: there will be days that are tougher than others AND that is perfectly fine.
Given that it is a fruitless endeavor, running from our hurt only makes us tired. Remember, what is hidden is not healed no matter what we tell ourselves.