It’s not true that time heals all wounds. Time alone won’t heal your broken heart after a breakup or ease your grief after you lose someone you love. Time can’t heal the wounds of your past — even if those wounds are decades old.
Think back to your childhood. Your most painful memories are burned into the very core of your being, no matter how much time has passed. Ten years, 20 years, even 50 years later you’ll still feel the same degree of pain you felt when the event actually happened.
Why? You guessed it: because time doesn’t heal all wounds. But even though time isn’t the greatest healer, we do have something more powerful and loving that does and can heal all wounds….
The shock and pain of a breakup or loss does fade with time — whether you’re healing after a breakup or coping with your husband’s unexpected death. But, full recovery of your heart, soul and spirit won’t happen without you making a choice to heal.
Healing takes time, but time alone won’t heal the sadness and grief of losing someone you love. In fact, it’s a myth that “time heals all wounds.” Sure, physical wounds such as paper cuts or sprained ankles heal with the passage of time…but time doesn’t heal other types of wounds. Physical wounds such as appendicitis or cancer, for example, aren’t healed by time alone — and neither are illnesses such as schizophrenia or depression. Those are physical, mental, and emotional injuries that require attention and care…not just time.
Losing someone you care about is a major life change — especially if you didn’t choose the breakup, separation, or divorce. The end of a relationship is a big and important thing to grieve in your life.
Grief is an emotional wound that won’t heal unless you decide to actively walk through the ealing process. It hurts to let go and emotionally detach from someone you care about, but your heart will heal if you grieve in healthy ways. You’ll never forget your ex, but you won’t always feel the intense pain you do now. You’ll remember this relationship with acceptance and surrender, peace and joy.
The Difference Between Grieving and Letting Go
Grief is the emotional pain and suffering you feel when you lose someone or something you love. It’s a natural, healthy response to any type of loss in life. The emotions that accompany grief are often unexpected, confusing, and overwhelming; they can disrupt your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. There are no right or wrong ways to grieve, but there are healthy ways to cope with the pain of a breakup. It hurts, but the best way to cope is to actively grieve and let go.
In contrast, letting go means accepting your loss, remembering and honoring your relationship, and choosing to work through the pain. It’s not just about relying on time to heal your wounds, or people to fill the empty spaces in your heart and life.
Letting go also involves loosening your internal attachment to the way life was before your relationship ended. Choosing to let go and move forward is the only way to heal the pain of a breakup. When you let go, you become free to grow and live fully.
When you let go of someone you love, you accept your loss and surrender to your life as it is now. You don’t just wait for time to heal your wounds; you choose to move into a new season. You don’t deny the past, forget your loss, or ignore the pain. You release it because it no longer serves or uplifts you. If you believe in God, letting go also involves accepting His will for your life. He loves you unconditionally and created you for a reason! Trusting and resting in Him makes it easier to loosen your grip on the past.
Why is it so hard to let go?
Not only do we miss the people we loved and shared our lives with, we don’t like change. Even positive, healthy change is difficult to accept! We like our lives the way they are because we know what to expect, how to act, where to go, what to do. Life is easier when things stay the same, all predictable and safe and comfortable. We resist letting go of relationships — even unhealthy ones — because we’re creatures of habit; we like order, structure and routine.
Letting go is hard because we fear not finding love again. What if we don’t meet someone to spend the rest of our lives with? What if we’re alone forever? It’s hard to be alone after being in a relationship.
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How to Let Go and Heal Your Wounds
Trust that good things are coming your way. You will experience healthy relationships, fresh experiences, and new ways of being, learning and growing. Time won’t heal your wounds, but what you choose to do with your time will. And you’re on the right road.
Even better, trust God to heal your wounds. Give Him time to work in your life and through your relationships. Trust that He knows what He’s doing, God loves you, and He really is working all things together for those who believe in Him. He created you for a reason — and the reason isn’t to harm you! He loves you and wants you to be whole, happy, and healthy.
But you have to trust Him. You have to get to know who Jesus is, and develop a relationship with Him. Healing isn’t a magical dispensation that is granted just because you ask…it’s part of a dynamic, changing relationship with God that will change your very self.
You may still be in the first stages of loss and letting go, which means you need to go slow and be gentle with yourself. There are dozens of possible strategies, tips, and coping mechanisms that can help you let go of an ex and move forward into the future. But this season isn’t the place for pushing. This is the place for breathing.
Let your wounds heal gradually
“Grieving the end of a relationship is a gradual process of extracting the ‘I’ from a vanishing ‘we,’” writes Michael Vincent Miller, Ph.D. in Intimate Terrorism: The Crisis of Love in an Age of Disillusion. “Mourning teaches us how to accept the end of love and helps us start the process of feeling whole again.”
When you put your heart, body and soul into someone’s hands, you become intertwined with them. Letting go of even the most unhealthy relationship involves a loss of who you were, who you wanted to be.
Grieving sets you free and helps you become independent and strong — even if you’re healing your heart without relationship closure. But, grieving isn’t just about crying, watching sad movies, or looking at the “we” photos until the wee hours. Healthy grieving is about saying farewell to the past while preparing for the future, and not being ruled by negative emotions.
The self you get back won’t be quite the same as the self you relinquished to your relationship…but you are stronger, wiser, and deeper than you’ve ever been before.
How do you feel? What do you think about the myth that time heals all wounds? I welcome your thoughts and comments below.
May you find hope and healing for your wounded heart. May your soul be renewed, your spirit refreshed, and your life recreated into more than you could ever imagine! And may your relationship with Jesus be revived into a living, exciting flow of freshness and love.
Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.