In an ideal world, we will all be happy. Unfortunately, such a world doesn’t exist. We live here, in this world, filled with challenges, problems, always changing, always shifting. And in this world, when we take a hit, we’re not always healing immediately.
As a matter of fact, we seldom heal immediately. Most of the time, we carry these wounds under temporary bandages, we bury them deep inside and we keep hurting. We get so accustomed with hurt that we start thinking that’s how it should be. We think pain is normal, so we adapt to the current level of hurt and carry on. And it’s only when we’re hit again that we realize in how much pain we’re living.
This tolerance level, as useful as it is for getting by with our daily lives, is also making the actual healing difficult.
What Wounds Do We Carry?
But I feel a bit of confusion from you, the reader, so before going forward, I’ll try to detail a bit what I mean by “wounds”.
Well, it’s about those emotions we were forced to feel in unpredictable situations. Like when we’ve been betrayed, abandoned, lied to, cheated, you know the drill. Our expectations (wrongfully set way too high, in the first place) were never met – on the contrary, we got the opposite end of the stick. We needed support, but we got dumped, we needed trust, but we’ve been lied to. And so on and so forth.
These wounds are psychological in nature, but, given enough time, enough tolerance built over the years, they may “grow up” as physical problems. For instance, an incessant need for security will generate, in time, a weight problem: eating more than needed and putting extra layer on top of extra layer will act as a protection wall. Or, if you have a commitment problem, never trusting anyone (or life all together), you will become thinner than you should be: not carrying any extra weight will support your incessant need to run away from commitments, treading lightly, not even wanting to be seen.
Back to the tolerance level.
All these wounds that we buried deep down are just numbed. We don’t always have the time, or the skills to heal those wounds completely. We just take the hit and then life happens and we have to roll with the punches somehow, we have to survive. So, because we applied some temporary medicine, just to push the pain away, the wound is still there. Like in a symptomatic treatment, we applied something so the symptoms are going away, but we didn’t address the root cause of the illness. We stopped the bleeding, but we didn’t actually sealed the wound. There’s not even a scar there, the wound is under the temporary bandage, still open. But, because we’re so accustomed with the pain inside it, we’re not feeling it anymore.
And here’s the problem: a covered wound will never heal. It needs to be exposed, it needs to interact with fresh air so it can eventually close, so the scar can form. And re-opening a wound hurts so much, sometimes more now than when you initially took the hit.
Re-opening an old wound is an act of courage. You face again the initial hit, accept it and open it so it can heal. During this process you’re extremely vulnerable. Chances to back off and resort to the old bandage technique are really high. It takes inner power and persistence and, like I said, a lot of courage.
So, when you see someone trying to deal with their old, unhealed stuff, have patience. They’re trying really hard. And they’re literally in their past, experiencing the same trauma. Give them time. Give them space. Give them understanding. And when they heal, celebrate. Congratulate them, integrate them again in the present, for they have come a really long way. And keep supporting them.
Because, before you know it, you may be the next one feeling the hurt of the healing.