Our lives are a mixture of experiences. Some satisfyingly good, some explosively great and other minutely uncomfortable or catastrophically painful. We all create our own stories of good fortune and bad luck, of beautiful self-expression and self-torture, of happy endings and cruel fable-like lessons. Life is good, it is great and it is extremely painful.
I, like all of us, have had a little of everything. I have learnt that, when it comes to negative experiences, I tend to categorise how to deal with them. There are things which come up in my life and they suck. But I can definitely do something to improve them. I can always choose another career path, I can try to improve the relationships in my life, I can always try to do better. I can succeed, there is a possibility for a happy ending.
Then there are things which come up and they suck. But there is nothing to do. I cannot bring loved ones back to life, I cannot fix relationships long broken and those with unwilling participants on the other side, I cannot mend what is permanently gone. There is no success in trying to change the past. A wrenching feeling of being lost, alone and completely powerless seems to then take over everything. It is a feeling only being deepened by the knowledge of finality. There is absolutely nothing you can do. These sort of changes only have one solution, they only have one healer: TIME.
You always hear that time heals everything. I never actually gave it a real thought until my dad died. For weeks and months I couldn’t take the hurt. It felt like that was all I was and I’ll never recover. His illness and death were all that ever existed and all that ever would be. I felt so alone, so desperate, so depressed. How was I ever to live like this? How does anyone live like this?
Then I heard something a friend’s grandmother once said:
“The best thing about life is that everything passes.”
I found such solace in those words for some reason. Older and elderly people posses such wisdom and I respect that immensely. I know this lady had a tough life and if that’s what she got out of her 80+ experience in life, who am I to disagree?
Sometimes life brings crappy stuff which you cannot change. Some things are finite. They’re never coming back. All you can do is slowly try to accept. You not only have to accept the thing that has happened, but also accept that you’ll need time. Those sharp edges of hurt you now feel in your stomach and heart will ebb away, I promise. They’ll never fully go away, but they will become bearable and, if you choose so, will become a valuable lesson.
I have learned to recognise the type of pain I’m in. I decide whether it’s the kind of situation I can try to change with my action or it is something finished and out of my reach. If it’s the latter, I recognise the pain, try to accept it and try to be patient with myself through the sensations. Some things are easier to cope with than others. Especially when we feel guilty or feel like there is something unresolved coming up and resurfacing. Those are the things we have to resolve. We have to resolve ourselves from the trauma. Detach from things we’ve done or have been done to us and simply let them become a story we learn from for the future. What good is an experience if you failed to learn?
I know it sucks. TIME! Of all things! When we’re in pain, we want it to go away now(!) and we wish we could just bridge the gap and let it be over with. Time is a solution both bitter and sweet. It means you’ll have to be patient when all you want to do is crawl out of your skin. But remember: it also means you have something to rely on. You can always rely on the fact that things will get easier. What you are feeling now will soften, will change and will mend. And know that the best things in life are usually always simple, but they’re not always easy. Just know they’re always worth it and here for you when you need them.