Episode 101: Are You Putting a Time frame on your Healing?
Sometimes we think we “should” heal faster. We give ourselves a time frame of what’s acceptable towards progression. We get frustrated and sometimes angry that we “haven’t moved on yet” or “progressed enough” but what does that really mean and what is that kind of pressure doing to your ability to progress? More importantly, how is that affecting your confidence? Tune in this week to hear the episode!
Welcome back to the show everyone! Glad you’re here. I’m bringing you a topic that is pretty common across the board and that’s the notice and practice of putting ourselves on a time frame when it comes to healing and our thought work.
Most of us have some kind of acceptable time frame idea in our heads. Like, we understand that we need time for growth and processing but after a certain point – we get upset, frustrated, and we create MORE stress and pressure for ourselves because we think we’re not progressing fast enough.
We start to doubt our ability to move forward or progress. We start to fear that we’ll always be this way and that’s terrifying because the story in your mind about it is that your current state is wrong. You shouldn’t be like this, think like that, feel that, do that and then we box ourselves into a label and an unhelpful story that there’s something wrong with us.
There’s something more to be ashamed of, something more to hate about ourselves. It’s so disheartening because what we really need is healing and compassion and what we give ourselves is vinegar and shame. So today I just want to take a moment and offer you some thoughts and insight into a more helpful, productive, and kind way to give yourself the time you need to heal and move forward.
Oftentimes these time frames, this notion of a time frame came on in childhood. You may have had a parent that wasn’t emotionally available that could allow you the space to process and grow. It’s such a tough area because the parent doesn’t know what to do to help the child and hearing the child cry or be in pain is uncomfortable to the parent so the parent wants the child to stop crying so that they can feel better. Definitely not a perfect parenting style but one of circumstance and more likely not having been taught themselves to be emotionally stable and secure, of course their weakness in that area is going to affect the child and then teach the child these unhelpful and painful practices.
I grew up in a time where it was common to hear something like, “if you’re going to cry I’ll give you something to cry about” and side note: that never happened – but as a child not even understanding why you’re really upset in the first place and then hearing a threat or a statement of that kind and caliber would shame and strike fear into any child so they stop crying. They learn to hold in their emotions. They learn that showing emotions or that tears are bad and they learn that there’s a point to their sadness and pain – and I’m meaning a point – a time frame to that.
And listen, I’m a parent. I have four kids. I get that we’re all imperfect and this is not a shame the parent podcast. This is a let’s help heal the adult by healing their inner child that didn’t get the opportunity to learn that it’s okay to be sad, to process your emotions, and to heal as long as you need to heal. And then the best part of all of that is that, the parent increases their capacity to sit with the child now in love, compassion, and patience so that these dysfunctional practices cease.
So go back in your mind a bit and see if you can remember or recall times where you learned that there was a time frame for your negative emotions. You don’t even have to go back to childhood. This belief can be taught to us by the media, society, a friend, your spouse, a co-worker even.
It doesn’t take much, just a comment here or there and because you’re already in a hurt or vulnerable place any kind of rushing comment stings and is amplified in your grief. Things like, “you already talked about that” – which we tend to interpret as, “you shouldn’t talk about that again. You had your time and now you should have moved on.”
Or when others bring up your past and times in the past when you struggled with something similar – I think this is especially hard because you’ve grown since then, immensely most likely and it’s hard for you even because you’re thinking, “I’m here again. After all this time, I can’t believe I’m still struggling in this area” and so then to hear it from others is like double whammy – you can’t change because if you could you would have kind of thing and that’s what so many of us are afraid of in the first place – having something fundamentally wrong with us.
We fear it in ourselves and it becomes more detrimental when others seem to point it out in us as well.
So a few things that I want to bring to your attention that will help you in your healing process which leads to love and confidence.
So number one is just: Why do you believe there is a time frame? What if that didn’t exist? Because I tell you what, what your time Frame might be is going to be different than mine and what if both of ours are wrong?
Over Covid my daughter had these swollen tonsils and I didn’t think it was covid I swore she had tonsillitis. I webMD’d it and was certain our very capable doctor was missing these like tell-tale signs. She assured me it was a side effect of Covid and a week later I made another appointment because I was sure it wasn’t covid and that it was indeed tonsillitis and again she assured me, it was indeed covid related and of course we quarantined and stayed at home and safe and got her tested and yes it was indeed covid but her tonsils were swollen for months afterwards and it surprised me because in my mind I had this notion that they’d heal quickly and when they didn’t I was concerned, worried, and like putting expectant time frames on her healing.
And I think we do this with our own emotional healing. We think it’s something else – and so first we don’t really understand why we’re feeling the way we are anyway and we think we should heal much faster than we are. So you might be upset and confused because you’re not able to just let an off comment roll off your back because it’s not really the comment that bothered you but the old t trauma coming back and showing up.
Which is usually what it is. We’re trying to heal a surface stretch that you believe should have healed already when deep inside there’s still a wound that’s festering. It’s the deep wound you need to allow yourself time for, time to heal and to acknowledge and then see through your adult and emotional adult eyes.
Emily Marie once wrote, “Trauma isn’t the result of weakness. Trauma is the result of something (or many things) that has been so overwhelming for our bodies that our brains literately CHANGE to adapt to what has happened. It’s not something we make up. It’s not something we can just ‘fix our mindset’ about. You can’t just logically ‘decide’ you’re going to feel safe when your body have been bracing against impending danger for years. You have to actually cultivate a real sense of safety within your body to reverses the impact of trauma.”
And the best definition I have for trauma is that it’s anything that’s “too fast, too much, or too soon”
Too much criticism, too much attention, too many eyes on you, too much responsibility at once, too many expectations, too fast, too soon – before you’re ready, before you’re able. Just too much.
Any this is such a beautiful way to look at it because it could be anything for anybody.
We often discount our own trauma because we’re still believing that trauma has to be something huge or big or something that everyone agrees on as a suitable or accepted wrong doing. Those are the T traumas but the lower case t traumas are what we are all dealing with all the time and it’s what we’re shaming ourselves for and criticizing ourselves for and then wondering why we’re not healed yet.
Because we’re trying to heal the surface wound when there’s internal damage that needs more time.
So time frame – if you’re not healing as fast as you think you should – then maybe we want to look into our shoulds a bit and ask ourselves why? Why do I think I should be healed? Is there something else that I’m not currently seeing?
It’s like the little child going to school for the first time and there’s other kids that are totally fine and running into the new space and then there’s the shy kid that doesn’t talk for a week because they’re afraid. We would never tell that kid, “okay, shy time is over – get over it and get socializing!” right? We’d carefully approach the child and offer soothing words and comfort until they can trust us enough to share their story and feel safe enough to move forward.
This is what we need to give to ourselves. If we’re not healing and we’re still stuck on something the last thing we need are labels, judgment, and condemnation. We need kindness, space to heal which really means, time to heal, and a safe environment to explore what is going on. – that safe environment is meant to be your mind – a mind that isn’t centered on shaming or speeding up the process.
So number one: there is no time frame. No where does it say that you have 1 hour, 10 mins, or even one morning to be in pain. You get to take as long as you need to. Other people might not understand and it’s not for them. It’s not their journey. Which leads me to our next facet:
Others can’t give you what you need – no matter how much you want them to.
I say this because in our attempts to understand ourselves it’s really helpful to talk about it. Because talking is processing. And sometimes we assume that we should be able to share everything with our spouse, our bestie, our friends and sometimes they’re not equipped to help you the way you need help. They might not be able to hear the things you need to say.
They might not have the mental or emotional space to hear you without wanting to “fix you or fix it”.
Remember how uncomfortable it can be to see others in pain and its’ tough because you want them to feel better and if they felt better then you can feel better and they might unknowingly try to rush you through that process without realizing how damaging that can be.
Plus they can only hear and understand you through their lens. They can only interpret your words through their experiences and what they know. So they might be totally amazing individuals but maybe totally unequipped to help you in the way you need help with.
I think coaches are amazing for that purpose. They’re trained to hold space and not be in the water with you – drowning with you. They’re on stable ground. They’re not going to hold anything against you or box you into any labels. They’re there to help and they love to help. I can say this with full confidence because I’m a coach. This is what I do and it’s such a blessing to have a safe space to share your inner thoughts, fears, processing’s, and humanity with. Sometimes you just need someone to listen that isn’t going to try and “fix” you but to stay with you and help you understand it so you can move forward.
Release you bestie, your spouse, your co-worker, your parent, your friends from that job. They love you but they’re not equipped to help you in the way that you need help. Most of the time it does more damage than good. So in healing cases, be kind to them and to you and come talk to me.
The last thing I want to suggest is three things we all need to heal and move forward. We need Comfort, Nourishment, and Rest and I’m going to bring to you the story from the Old Testament about Elijah the prophet. You can find this story in 1 Kings 19
At this point Elijah is under great persecution and fled his homeland into the wilderness. During this time there’s no doubt that he struggled with feelings of depression, frustration, and discouragement – and remember this is one the old testaments most powerful prophets. Elijah is amazing and we named our youngest son after him not just because he was a powerful example and a man of God but because he was so human and willing to share his journey.
So at this point he’s struggling. He’s in need of healing emotionally. And he curses God. We read, “He himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a juniper tree and he requested that for himself that he might die; and said, it is enough; now, o Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” In his mind, he thinks he failed.
Isn’t that often a thought we have when we’re struggling? I failed. I’m a failure. I can’t do this. I should have been better. I should be farther, right?
So Elijah falls asleep and awakes to a meal prepared by angel to strengthen him.
I want to read this commentary by S. Michael Wilcox because you all know how much I love his perspective and insight.
He said, “It is sometimes very difficult to leave the shade of our self-created junipers, but even while we’re there, the Lord is solicitous of us, attentive to our needs, and nourishing. There should be no guilt (I’m pausing to insert – no time frame, no rush) seeking the shade of the juniper, but how long do we stay there? And how do we face the heat of the sun again?”
Let me pause from his commentary to say the Elijah got up and moved from his shady juniper tree and found a cave at mount Horeb. And here, the Lord starts to invite Elijah into action, like are you rested? Are you healed? Are you ready to take the next step forward?
And he’s not. So he stays there and receives rest, nourishment, and comfort until he is ready. The Lord never stops asking Elijah that question though, not rushing but inviting.
And then going to back to Wilcox, he says, “Within the compass of the Lords next two words we find a life-sustaining principle to aid us when we find ourselves in a similar position, in the juniper tree or cave moments of our lives: ‘go and return’ (1 Kings 19:15)….The important thing is that he take action. When we are discouraged, ready to give up…the Lord tells us to go to work. We return to the world from our cave or our juniper tree….ACT. Accomplish something.”
And I believe this is essential and important because our actions create our results. Our actions are the manifestation of our healing and not that we’re totally healed but that we’re engaging in productive emotions like hope, faith, belief.
There is no rush on your healing. There are no shoulds or expectations. There’s only comfort, nourishment, rest, and encouragement.
1.) Other’s can’t give you what you need – no matter how much you want it
2.) There is no time frame
3.) We need healing – more time, more compassion, more attention, more delicacy – Elijah – comfort (tree), Nourishment (food), Rest (cave), and encouragement (question/invitation)
This example from a most powerful prophet and an even more powerful God shows me the blueprint of an effective healing journey. He never said, get over it. He never rushed him like we tend to rush ourselves. He never gave him passive aggressive comments. He offered him comfort in the shade of a juniper tree. Nourishment from His angels, Rest in the safety of a cave, and encouragement that there is light at the end of this tunnel if you’ll but take one step in front of the other.
And one more beautiful, encouraging prospect from D&C 103:12
“After much tribulation cometh…the blessing”
If I keep taking steps through. If I hold fast to my faith there will be blessings waiting for me.
And that was true for Elijah who went on to do amazing things including raising and preparing Elisha the next prophet who saw incredible things in Elijah and wanted to be just like him and there are amazing things waiting for you if you’re able to keep moving forward.
Please don’t rush your healing. Please don’t add guilt and suffering to the pain’s of humanity. Allow yourself to be human. Accept that this is part of the journey. Embrace your mortality. And then trust yourself that if you keep moving forward blessings will come. Light is there and through this refining period you will have come out stronger.
We will all face more times of struggle and refining and so keep these truths with you to help sustain you and bolster your faith. To review:
1.) Remember that others cannot give you what you need no matter how much you want it from them. They don’t make you feel – you do. That’s your job and you are good at it or if you’re not yet, isn’t worth getting good at?
2.) There is no time frame. Stop rushing yourself through your healing. The more compassion you can offer yourself the faster you’ll recover. Compassion and love is exactly what you need – not rushing, no shoulds, no expectations coupled with guilt and shame.
3.) Give yourself the healing you need. Remember the prophet Elijah, find comfort, nourishment, rest, and encouragement. Don’t fill your mind with dark things that deplete you. Read uplifting, comforting words. Listen to encouraging podcasts and be around people that are full of light. Give yourself the gift of time and healing.
And then take action and you will see the blessings. The more you practice this the more you’ll find your sure footing. The easier it is to wade through trials and tribulations. This is how you develop your confidence in yourself no matter what the circumstances are or will be. You know that you know how to take care of you so that no matter what comes you will be okay – and in that lies so much security and sure confidence.
Okay my friends, bookmark this one for when you’re struggling or feeling down and then implement these practices! Have a great week! Talk to you next time!