A few days after my grandpa died, some of my schoolmates told me to give it some time, that things would get better on their own. As I was a 7-year-old at the time, and so were them, that advice seemed to make sense, and I took it to heart. However, I would like to use this post to talk about how that advice rarely is true, no matter how well-meaning it is.
Time does not heal on its own
I enjoy lifting weights, and I was a pretty active kid in my younger days. So active, in fact, that I once broke my arm when using a scooter without any protective equipment. If you’ve ever experienced a broken bone, then you know that time is a factor when it comes to mending bones: after your bones as restored to their natural positions, and fixed relative to one another with plaster or fiber glass casts, it’s a matter of time to let the bones heal. Other injuries, like cuts, bruises or problems like an upset stomach tend to also improve with time. However, there is a trick to all these sorts of mending: they are carried out through natural processes, and such processes take their time.
Consider a different sort of problem, like a bent fender or a wall that has been damaged after an earthquake. It’s pretty obvious that time won’t fix any of them, as some sort of agency has to occur for the repairs to happen. Just like there are natural processes that take care of solving some problems, there are other problems for which no repair process exists naturally. To drive the point further, chances are that most situations lie somewhere in between both extremes, being partially solved by time alone, but also requiring that someone assumes responsibility for solving what time can’t do on its own.
A matter of balance
That last idea went by a little quickly, so it bears repeating: chances are that most situations lie somewhere in between both extremes, being partially solved by time alone, but also requiring that someone assumes responsibility for solving what time can’t do on its own.
This tells us that we have to be both alert regarding what we must do to improve our situation, and also in terms of when it’s best to let things run their course. It is obvious that there are no rules that establish to what degree we must be active participants in our own saving and when time can be left to its own devices, and finding such balance will depend on our culture, age, capacities, and willingness. However, being the neurotic that I am, I’d suggest that one be more willing to participate than to observe.
The real problem with the phrase “time heals everything” is being inexperienced enough and taking it literally while forgetting that as time passes, our life goes with it. Rarely will we have the chance of having someone else come to solve our problems or help improve our situation. The reality is that we must become our own heroes and take an active role in making our lives better. This is something that most people realize at some point or another, and if you haven’t already, I would like you to think back to how often you’ve had to rely on yourself to get things started or done. Chances are you’ve been responsible for more successes and failures that you realize.
See you next week.