Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Outside Influences

Details vary, but all of us have at least one long-term challenge that shapes our lives. Some battle chronic health issues, mental illness, depression, the effects of abuse, addiction, and/or a distorted sense of self. We have to accept our challenges and their impact before we can learn to cope and maneuver through the hurt and influence associated with them. Acceptance and coping can take years, but living past hurt can be even more complicated by outside influences.

How many times have you heard that time heals all wounds? People who love you say it. It's printed on posters and in memes. You may have even repeated it to yourself. That statement, and others like it, imply that simply crossing days off of a calendar can push you forward. Some struggles can't be abandoned. Some require more of you than walking away. Some require attention and tedious emotional work. Time passes and can lessen the sting, but without the emotional work, the passage of time will only serve as a mark of frustration and justification for impatience and self-loathing.

In addition to passively giving time the power that you possess, working through a complicated situation can be made more complex by others. It may be easy to walk away from those who don't play an important role in your life, but what happens when the ones causing you pain and frustration are relatives and friends? What do you do when your parent, sibling, cousin, or childhood friend refuses to accept what you need to heal or tramples over your boundaries?

You are responsible for not allowing the same people to hurt you in the same manner again and again. This can be difficult and demand skillful maneuvering. It may require repeated readjustments of expectations and more defined boundaries. Easy? Not at all. Necessary? Absolutely. Those who cannot respect your boundaries may need to be on the other side of those boundaries. You have enough to live through without carrying the weight of clich├ęs and the expectations and desires of others on your back. Do the work to take care of you and the rest will take care of itself.

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