Have you ever been in a place where you thought you could never feel normal again? Something happened, someone did something that completely destroyed you?
Then what happened? Eventually you got over it. Slowly but surely you were able to smile again. Then you could laugh. You may have ever got back to your normal life.
However, there are some cases when people don’t seem to be able to get over unpleasant events. How do they do it? Why can one person get over rape and another can’t?
The reason why you were able to get over your problem was because you changed. Most of the time that’s a shift in meaning. In order to express myself in a way that majority of the people would understand I would like give some examples.
Lets say that your significant other breaks up with you. You’re are devastated because you really thought this person was the one. They were perfect. You go into a depression for 5-6 months… you remember the beautiful moments you lived with that person and that just breaks your heart. But slowly you also start to realize they weren’t that perfect after all. I mean, if they were the perfect person for you, why would they want to break up… Then you meet someone else…this time he really is perfect…you forget all about the last person, and you’re actually glad that you broke up because if not you wouldn’t have met the new guy…
Do you see what happened here? How in one moment something that made you depressed made you feel lucky in another? The reason is- you changed the meaning you gave to it. At first you were sad because you lost ‘the perfect person’ for you. Then you realize that you are actually lucky, because they weren’t so ‘perfect’ after all, and if it weren’t for the ‘traumatic’ events, you’d still be stuck with them and would have never met the ‘real perfect partner’.
Where’s the magic here? Where’s the ‘time heals’ thing? Well…nowhere. It was all in your mind. You weren’t sick to begin with, you just didn’t have an empowering point of view… So why go through six month of depression to get to a point of “I’m actually glad this happened”?
Now this is where my advice comes in. Most people let events control their feelings. We broke up, I should feel bad. And in two months you feel good because – you broke up. Well, why not feel good now? Do some time travel, and heal that wound. Change the meaning you give to your problem. You don’t have enough money? Great, now you get to have a goal. And if you want to have a lot of money, you have to help people right? Now you get to help people, and earn money, isn’t this wonderful?
Here’s the exercise:
Take a look at a problem you have, and see how that problem can be seen as a benefit in the context of a larger time frame.
Example (touchy subject): So if you were raped, use your pain as a drive to change the world. To make sure there are less people going through what you went through. Educate men. Educate women. Educate the world.
Me for example, I once read a book a friend of mine gave me and it was about the misfortunes of many women. There were some stories about some girls going through some really really tough stuff, and I personally, as a man was disgusted. And I decided to do something about it. Now, if I can get such a drive just by reading about it, I can’t imagine what someone who has been through something like this can do. But you have to change the meaning you give to the event.
Lets finish with this:
You are not the failures and mistakes of your past, you are the lessons and skills you’ve gleaned from it.