If you ever thought that all it took to get over something traumatic was a few months, know that you are not alone. Most of us have been there and thought the same thing. After all, many people use the popular adage “Does time truly heal all wounds?” for good reason. Is this, however, entirely true? Both yes and no. When it comes to healing, time is undeniably important.
Time, while it may alleviate some of the pain, sorrow, or other negative emotions associated with an experience, is not a healer in and of itself. Whether you’re going through a breakup, grieving the loss of a loved one, or dealing with another emotionally taxing situation, there are a number of other important factors to consider in the healing process.
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In this article, you will learn why the cliche “does time heal all wounds” may not be entirely true, as well as time’s true role in healing, other factors involved, and where you can focus your efforts to speed up the healing process.
Time is valuable to us.
We are cautious in how we employ it. We may feel guilty for squandering too much of our money on ourselves. Furthermore, we must accept that we will need to examine our pain and devise a rational plan of action at some point. In the meantime, we can educate ourselves on emotional injuries and how to administer emotional first aid.
A time for hurting
We do not experience many negative emotions beyond the physical pain of an injury, assuming the injury is not part of a larger emotional trauma. If we cut our finger by accident, we may pause for a moment or two to reflect on our carelessness, but we quickly move on. If we cut our fingers for the third time this week, the experience may become more intense. Although the physical pain does not necessarily change, the associated emotions are easily influenced.
When it comes to emotional pain, individual factors can play a significant role. It is critical to consider how we process our emotions. Feelings can change over time, for the better or for the worse. In that sense, it appears that time may be a contributor to our emotional pain rather than a healer of it.
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Trauma and loss are associated with intense, complex emotions. A variety of emotions can be felt at the same time, at different times, and for varying lengths of time. There are various stages of grief. It can be exhausting and time-consuming to be able to identify and accept all of these feelings. If we are unable to accept our feelings as they are, they begin to accumulate. They become muddled with extraneous feelings.
We’re not only sad, but we’re also feeling guilty about being sad. Then we may feel ashamed that we feel guilty about being sad because we know we deserve to be sad, which makes us angry at ourselves. If emotions are not properly addressed, they tend to feed off each other.
The Role of Time in Healing
Healing is a delicate time, whether we are healing physically or emotionally. We are more sensitive, irritable, and prone to infection. Even if we know better, we may have a habit of picking at open wounds. We must make a conscious effort not to pick at ourselves during times of emotional healing, or we will not heal properly. When we are in this vulnerable state of mind, replaying tragic events or inventing “what-if” scenarios can be especially harmful. Throughout the healing process, we must remember to take care of ourselves.
Our wounds leave scars no matter how much time passes or how well we heal. Emotional scars can be unsightly at times. In our search for answers, we may be led down uncharted territory, some of which can be extremely dangerous. We must ask the questions that will lead us to the most appropriate answers. We can think about how time affects our individual grief.
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In addition, we consider how our perceptions might change. We understand that simply believing in something does not make it true. Faith opens our hearts to the possibility that something is true. Healing is brought about by new perspectives, which take time to develop. There is no simple way to explain it. So here we go again: it’s time to heal all wounds.
What Factors Can Prevent Healing?
For a variety of reasons, it is possible (and highly likely) that time will not heal all wounds. So, what can prevent someone from healing over time? Even if a significant amount of time has passed, the following factors may help you heal faster:
- Fixating on something, such as how a difficult breakup ended
- By holding a grudge, you are refusing to let go of a betrayal.
- Denial that anything has occurred
- Not forgiving yourself or someone else who was responsible for the wound or trauma
- Lack of a solid support system or emotional outlet through which to express your emotions
- Using unhealthy coping and/or distraction strategies
- Using alcohol or drugs to numb the pain associated with the event
In addition to ruminating, people can use the time to reinforce limiting beliefs that keep them trapped in a cycle of negative experiences.
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“[They] find themselves stuck and living in the past as if no time has passed since experiencing a difficult event,” Lyons says. “Of course, some experiences are so traumatic that they leave us scarred for a while,” she explains, “and this scarring is our brain’s way of keeping us healthy.”
How to Encourage Healing
“Some factors distinguish those who move on with time from those for whom time appears to provide the opportunity to become more entrenched in a loss, trauma, or other difficult experiences,” Lyons says.
In essence, how you spend your time is directly related to how well and quickly you heal. So, let’s take a look at some of the factors that aid in the healing process.
#1. Incorporate What You’ve Learned
“People need to be able to express their pain in ways that combine insight and emotion,” Lyons says. This could include making art based on your experiences, making music, keeping a journal, or writing stories. Finally, you can express your pain in a way that feels cathartic and healing to you, preventing it from becoming bottled up or becoming an unhealthy expression later on.
#2. Respect Your Emotions
Allow yourself enough time to process your emotions. This is especially important after a traumatic event, such as a breakup, a death, or a physical injury. Allow yourself to accept and feel whatever comes up for you in order to move past the experience, and release any judgment associated with it.
#3. Obtain Assistance
Lyons observes that social support is beneficial to people. Spend time with people you trust who can provide emotional support in times of need. Friends, family, or a trained professional, such as a therapist or coach, can all be helpful.
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#4. Align Your Values With Your Actions
“People benefit from participating in activities that help them live lives that are consistent with their values,” Lyons says. So, pursue your interests and create new memories doing what you enjoy to help yourself achieve a deeper sense of healing.
Techniques for Accelerating Recovery
Instead of relying solely on time to heal your wounds, there are other areas you can concentrate on to promote healing. You can try any or all of the following techniques to achieve a deeper sense of healing:
- Spend time with family and friends.
- Make new potential friends and partners.
- Enhance your physical health.
- Gather new experiences (e.g., travel, meet new people, etc.)
- Become grateful for all the good things in your life.
- Make use of your support network.
- Forgive yourself and those who have wronged you.
- Consult a therapist or life coach.
- Reflect on yourself and fully process your emotions.
- Pursue creative outlets to help you deal with your emotions (e.g., art or music)
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Lyons reminds readers that “when we open ourselves up to new people and experiences, we also retrain our brain to understand that yes, there are dangerous places and relationships, but there are also safe places and relationships.”
One of the most popular sayings is that “time heal all wounds,” but this may not be entirely true. Although time is not a healer, it can be used for healing. However, it is ultimately your responsibility to find ways to heal during the time that follows a wound or trauma.
Try not to berate yourself if you heal more slowly than you would like. Everyone heals on their own timetable, so be kind to yourself and be patient during this time. If you are having difficulty overcoming an experience, consider seeking the assistance of a therapist or other qualified mental health professional. An experienced professional can guide you through the healing process in ways that provide much deeper healing than time alone.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the meaning of time heals all wounds?
Definition of time heals all wounds
—used to say that feelings of sadness, disappointment, and so on fade away with time. I thought I’d never be able to love again, but as they say, time heals all wounds.
Does time heal loss?
Losing a loved one is always heartbreaking, but for most people, time heals the wounds. Accepting and moving on from a loss, however, remains extremely difficult for about 10 to 20% of the bereaved, even years later.
How do emotional wounds heal?
Healing Techniques for Emotional Wounds
- Take small steps.
- Remember that you don’t have to be completely healed to improve the quality of your life.
- Be persistent and patient.
- Set reasonable expectations.
- Consider setbacks to be part of the process and opportunities for learning.
- Make self-care and self-compassion a priority.
How long does it take to emotionally heal?
Regrettably, there is no definitive answer. It could take a few weeks or a year or two to recover from a breakup. For one thing, people recover from grief at different rates. You may also require more time to recover from certain relationships, especially those that lasted longer or were more meaningful to you.
Is time a good healer?
When it comes to healing, time is unquestionably a factor. Although it can alleviate some of the pain, sorrow, or other negative emotions associated with an experience, Time on its own is not a healer
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