“Give it time; time heals everything,” has got to be one of the most annoying phrases you can hear when you’re upset. What’s even more annoying is the fact that it’s a society-wide phenomenon. I would love to know who came up with that. Who is the person who decided that time was the reason you got over your ex? Who decided it was time that helped you come to terms with the passing of a beloved family member? What did time do that you apparently couldn’t?
Saying that time heals everything completely discredits the work that goes into getting over something. Not to mention the pressure that is added with something as vague as “give it time.” How much time are we talking? Has it been too long already? Where on the spectrum do I fall in regards to how long it’s taken other people to come to terms with this? Should I feel badly about the fact that this still bothers me? Should I feel guilty for already wanting to move on?
The Dixie Chicks might have had a point when they sang, “They say time heals everything, but I’m still waiting.” Maybe two years will go by and you’ll still have that one thing hanging over your head that irks you beyond belief. Maybe it’s naive to assume that absolutely everything will be resolved if you let enough time pass.
At the same time, when you are eventually “okay,” why is time the one you have to thank? You were the one who made the effort to move on. Time wasn’t the one who handed you tissues while you cried. Time didn’t take the phone out of your hand when you were ready to emotionally relapse. You don’t magically wake up feeling okay about a situation when enough time has gone by, you have to work for it.
And yes, that does take time. But no amount of time is responsible for the realization that you are no longer affected by something that once made your heart sink. You are responsible for your own healing process, and time is merely a tool that helped you along.
If we were to wholeheartedly follow the advice that “give it time” implies, we’d all be stuck. The truth is, if you leave everything in the hands of time without improving the way you handle your situation, nothing will have changed no matter how much time has passed. The most significant benefit that time provides is an opportunity to see your situation a little clearer. But clarity alone is not enough.
You shouldn’t feel comfort after hearing “things will get better in time.” To me, that is one of the most unsettling pieces of advice. Time is scary; an undetermined amount of time is even scarier. Stop relying on time to fix you. Actively work on bettering yourself and the way you react to things despite how much time has gone by. Time does heal, but only because you let it. Give yourself the credit you deserve.