Healing is something that happens on the inside. At least at first.
A few weeks ago, I cut my finger while slicing a sweet potato. Immediately, I wrapped the digit with gauze and applied pressure until the bleeding stopped.
Stopping the blood flow was the first step in my body getting back to normal. And it happened under the surface, inside.
I then spent the next few days with a Band Aid wrapped around my finger. The Band Aid was a boundary that protected the wound while my miraculous body repaired and regenerated tissue.
All that healing happened on the inside.
I declared myself “Healed” when the scab fell away to reveal pretty pink skin where the wound had been.
I know, you’re asking: What does this have to do with divorce?
Well, I’ve noticed that when people share their stories, they tend to focus outside themselves. They talk about “moving on” in terms of finding a new partner. They say things like:
“I no longer believe in love.”
“There are no good men/women out there.”
“I’ll never trust again.”
Every one of these phrases points to an emotional wound that needs to heal. But instead of addressing the issue at it’s core, we humans tend to look on the outside and make erroneous forecasts about the future. All the while doing nothing to stop the bleeding.
It’s kinda like breaking your leg and exclaiming, “I’ll never play basketball again!” without seeing a doctor to set the bones and apply a cast. And yes, in that case, you probably won’t dribble and dunk again. The fact is, you’ll have a much better outcome if you turn your attention inward and do the work to set yourself up for healing success.
Now, I know emotional wounds are a little different because they aren’t as obvious as a sliced finger or broken leg. But they exist, nonetheless, and they deserve the same care. If you ignore the internal healing process, you could wind up with a festering infection that poisons you from the inside.
What can you do?
Treat your heartbreak from the inside out:
- Focus on what’s important. If your leg was broken, you’d know not to try playing basketball. If your heart is broken, do not try dating. Do not offer predictions of when you might date. Do not create a list of qualities your dream guy/girl will possess. Instead, observe your feelings and needs. Know yourself so you can care for yourself.
- Clean the wound. The emotional equivalent of soap and water involves scrubbing away all the stories about your pain. Stop rehashing who-did-what-to-whom-and-why. Those stories might explain how you got hurt, but they won’t tell you what’s going on inside you.
- Seek medical attention. It’s a good idea to see a doctor. At the very least, a general practitioner can serve as a guide for physical wellness. Vitamins and exercise can help you feel better and therefore speed up your healing process. But you might need more specialized care. A mental health professional can help you further clean your wounds and do a deep-dive inside. Anti-depressants might be a necessary crutch as you struggle to stand alone. Getting a medical marijuana card might be an option available to you, depending on where in the world you are, and then you would be able to make use of the various cannabis products available at places like West Coast Cannabis to help with things like stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
- Protect your soft spots. Boundaries are important while you’re healing. Schedule self care. Limit or eliminate contact with your ex. Limit or eliminate contact with anyone who (intentionally or not) pours salt in your wounds.
- Change the bandages. Shift your boundaries as appropriate. The more you heal, the more you can handle.
- Don’t forget fresh air. Wounds need to breathe. Spend a little time going out with friends. Laugh. Learn something new. See how long you can go between one bandage and another.
In short: if you’re dating already, you’re doing it wrong. Check in, set boundaries, and wait for healing to happen within.