“It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don’t agree. The wounds remain. Time – the mind, protecting its sanity – covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.” ~ Rose Kennedy
How many of you have tried autosuggestion as a remedy against self-stifling behaviors and thought patterns? Have you stood in front of your mirror, repeating mantras like “You are perfect” or “You are strong”? Did you believe it or did you have a nagging feeling you were lying to yourself?
I am not saying self-affirmation techniques are all the way wrong. However, I do believe they encourage denial to some extent, and while the suppression of emotional distress can work temporarily as a coping mechanism, it will not improve your health in the long run. If you will, use autosuggestion to prep yourself up for an imminent job interview or some other momentary challenge, but go for something deeper if you desire actual healing.
Just to illustrate what I mean, imagine having a swollen knee. Would you manipulate yourself into going for a hike on the weekend anyways? Of course, you can force yourself up a mountain despite your lesion, but would it not make more sense to heal the knee and then reconsider the hike? Maybe try shorter walks before you go for the big one? Please allow your non-physical injuries the same amount of care as you would give your bodily ones, if not more.
Many people are boxing their way through life despite being deeply hurt. There is a certain mystification of discipline and “pulling yourself together” in our education that leads many to believe their weaknesses should be disguised under a veil of toughness rather than tended to. Personally, I believe this mentality causes much of the unhappiness, frustration, and aggression human beings display in their daily lives. We, both individually and as a collective would be better off if we felt free to admit “I have been wounded, therefore I need to give myself a chance to heal”.
There is no generic recipe or magic potion for internal healing. Becoming whole is a gradual and intimate process that will only occur organically. It cannot be imposed or prescribed but has to be initiated and directed by ourselves. Its elusiveness makes it sound sort of wishy-washy to our rational minds. In our fast-paced, postmodern culture which is so much in love with hard facts and measurable results, the idea of looking after your soul is easily derided as esoteric nonsense. It occupies but a tiny niche in a megalomaniac, ego-driven reality addicted to material values.
Even though I know materialism is toxic, I am often haunted by the question “How far could I have gotten with my potential had I used it, instead of being the failure I am?” But as guilt begins to raise its ugly head, I also recognize I got exactly as far as I could, because I was broken. Why blame your car with a missing tire for not taking you where you could have gone if it had all four tires?
While the example with the automobile sounds ridiculous, we do just that with ourselves all the time: demanding the impossible of ourselves and then beating ourselves up over not achieving it. Yet we never replace the damn tire!
We need to look inwards without shame, without denial. Success in life is not defined by how much we torture ourselves in order to look like we´ve made it. You are truly successful when you acknowledge your inner being – wounds and all – and commit to nourishing it as best you can.
What will the measure of your accomplishments be?
Not money, status or power. Instead, inner peace and gratitude; identifying the essence of your happiness and becoming more assertive claiming it; choosing relationships with people you can love safely and be loved by in return. I believe these things are what we are here to learn. For some, it may be a longer road than for others, but it is the one most worth traveling.