Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Healing all the wounds

For some reason, I have always been fascinated by my own faults. Things that, despite my best efforts, I cannot help but do and be. I've listed them here, but I don't believe recognizing your faults means anything in regard to changing them. Sure, it helps to notice when you're annoying people or being completely irrational, however I just am who I am--whether I'm working to hide it or not. That's how our faults work: we're either letting them all hang out or stifling them so they aren't as noticeable.

But the thing that really intrigues me about our faults are the theories that exist behind why they are there and what we do (consciously or subconsciously) to change them. I've heard that we are attracted to people who have the potential to heal the wounds that exist in our lives. Sometimes, it means we are drawn to the wrong people---because we think they will make everything better. Other times, we find people who make us feel like maybe we aren't as broken as we once thought. I'm talking friends and romantic relationships; they all have the potential to heal or break us in some way. That is, anyone who loves you because of your faults, not despite them.
Then, of course, there are theories that say we are all broken or damaged by our childhood in some way. Every last one of us. Our parents somehow wronged us or treated us in a manner that causes us hang on to those issues well into adulthood. We work to change those things or even to prevent passing them along to our own children. But, we all make mistakes. Perfection isn't possible anywhere, especially in raising children. Relationships will always be deeply complex and often misunderstood by outside observers. I think it's easy to blame our problems on our parents, but where does it stop? When do we begin to understand that we are capable of changing the wounds we have by working on them ourselves? When do we realize we are grown adults and our parents were simply doing the best they could?

The bottom line? You cannot heal all of your wounds. It's not realistic. Some simply cannot be healed---like the profound, lasting pain you feel from a tragedy or terrible situation that completely defies logic. Some things cannot be escaped--and running away only stands to make them worse. But you can't dwell on them, either. It's a tightrope walk when dealing with your emotions in an honest way. Living alongside them always seems difficult, but in reality it's the usually the best option you have.

Most of the time, we live with our faults and wounds and problems without realizing it's even happening. It's called coping. And really? It's called living. One of my favorite Oprah-isms is this: Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.

I like it because it reminds me of my own tendency to hang on to the what ifs, the maybes, and the I-wish-I-hads. It doesn't matter now---it's over. Really and truly over. No take backs or do-overs.

And more than anything, it reminds me that the only person who will ever heal my wounds is me.

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