I would find it hard to count the number of times when I have shared a story with regards to something hurtful in my life in which the listener’s ultimate advice is to allow time to transpire in order for the wound caused by the painful event to heal. We’ve all heard it before, “time heals all wounds.” Truth be told, time does seem to make things better but is it because of healing, or is it because other life events start to pile over the previous ones masking our wounds? Is it not true that if my final work of art is painted over two or three previous attempts it really doesn’t erase the originals but merely covers them up? I believe the same is so for those moments in my life that have in some way or another emotionally scarred me. Other moments keep piling themselves over the originally painful ones to the point that eventually it takes some digging in order for me to remember what it was that actually caused me to be so hurt in the first place. Yet there are also wounds that no matter how old they are require very little effort on my part for them to surface and take my mood into a dark or sad place.
I have learned with time that the one true emotion that is able to heal my sorrow is love. Whether I am the one applying the gooey ointment of love on my own wounds, or somebody else makes the generous effort to alleviate my pain makes a great deal of difference. Even though I can “talk” myself into feeling better about things that did not go right by digging deep into my emotional bucket and finding all the right reasons to love the culprit of my heart ache, nothing truly works as well as an outside source making an attempt to neutralize my pain with their own source of love.
Everybody makes mistakes and life is full of moments in which we are challenged with choices that aren’t really clear enough to get it right the first time around. If I energize myself and give an outrageous amount of attention to my kids when they make the wrong choices in their lives, I am basically teaching them that making the wrong choices is the best way to get my attention which could inadvertently translate to them as my love. After all, the reason that I go ballistic when they mess up is because I love them and don’t want to see them get hurt by making the same mistake over and over again. A few years back someone very close to my heart and whom I consider to be an excellent parent told me that when she was having a heart to heart conversation with three of her four kids she asked them what it was that she could do to be a better parent. Interestingly enough, all three of them unanimously agreed that she should be more strict, which ironically is the same characteristic that they typically would complain about her during challenging moments, the fact that she was too strict. This to me was a sign that her children correlated how much she loved them with how much attention they would get when they were causing trouble. Love does come in many flavors, including the parental reprimand that is truly intended to keep our children out of harms way. However, would it not be smarter to focus our outpour of attention, praise, and love when our children are getting it right? Would that not be a healthier correlation for them to make about love?
The next time you find yourself hurting because of an old wound, take a little time to uncover the true reason that you are still feeling the pain. When you discover the real reason for your sorrow find a way to give that emotion a dose of true love so that it can start to heal appropriately. The next time you are the cause of somebody’s sadness, don’t expect it to get better on its own with the tic toc of the clock, instead pause and consider taking a humble pill and asking the victim to forgive you from the softest spot in your heart. Finally, take every opportunity that you find, even if it means creating the opportunities yourself, to teach your children that love is readily and available in abundance from you all the time. Help them make the connection between their greatness in all the little things that they are capable of doing right, and don’t wait to teach them positive lessons only when they mess up instead. Healing starts when the flow of love washes away any and all of our wounds.