It’s always a bit of an eye-roll moment when you hear the words, “Then one day, I woke up and everything was different.”
But it’s this kind of epiphany I like best.
The light bulb moment, the moment the fog clears, the first glimpse of sunlight through that hypothetical tunnel, the dawn. The realization that something has shifted; suddenly you are back in the room. Awoken, aware—often it does happen just like that; sometimes it really is as simple as one day I woke up and was transformed.
What isn’t usually pointed out in these types of leading statements or motivational quotes is that while the lightning bolt may have indeed felt as if it struck that day—there was a whole lot of storm-chasing that happened prior to the event.
If forgiveness, healing, grief, love, and acceptance were recipes in a cookbook, they would all have one simple critical ingredient: time. Time—that sh*t would be sprinkled, mashed into, and grated over every emotionally challenging page in the book. It would be the ingredient that binds our component parts back together, and like the yeast in a good loaf, would allow us to rise and fill our emotional baking trays to the brim.
I have felt sadness, anger, disappointment, and betrayal. I have lost people I never ever thought I could live without, and felt those stings sharply. We all have moments when the weight of our feelings seem too much to carry. When the pain is searing, when we are frothing at the mouth with anger, spitting venom, and feeling utterly broken. We all have these moments…and then they pass. Some sooner than others—some take years, some days, some linger, and some dissipate instantly—but they pass, and we move on.
“And this too shall pass”—an adage descendant of Persia that has been translated and used in many books and many speeches (and many a Facebook quote page). For me, the words encompass the temporary nature of the human condition, what we feel, how we feel it, what we go through, our emotional reactions—they are all just moments in time.
With time, these things move. They transcend—they don’t completely disappear—but the nucleus of the problem passes over and away from us, and we can move forward and move on.
But time alone will not bring us peace; it will take the edge off and put the first layer of skin back on the open wound, but there needs to be a bit of inner talking to going on alongside it.
This time lark is inevitable—but it’s not an instant fix.
Often, our perspectives need to shift to help time out a bit. Sometimes, we need to sit ourselves down and have “the talk”—the internal debate that confronts what the f*ck our problem is.
Are we heartbroken because someone else decided that we were not valuable to them? Or are we heartbroken because we didn’t value ourselves enough to know that it will always be their loss? Are we angry because someone said something mean to us, or are we angry because we are so lacking in confidence that we allowed these words to penetrate so deeply? Are we pissed off with our boss because we got overlooked for that big promotion, or is it that we are too laden with fear to leave a role we have outgrown? Have we been betrayed by the love of our life, or have we been released from a lifetime with the wrong one and given a chance to find the right one? Have we been let down by an absent co-parent, or have we been delivered a chance to spend every waking hour with our babies?
Perspective—it’s a wonderful thing.
Who is responsible for whom here? Surely, we are the most responsible for ourselves?
I find that reframing my emotions to make myself responsible is sometimes enough to pull me straight out of melancholy and into action. And when I am in action mode, the feelings change from anger, resentment, disappointment, and hurt to determination, ambition, and an overriding excitement of what can be achieved.
Time and the courage to acknowledge we are responsible for our own happiness is an addictive combination—together, they can carry us through and heal all wounds.
And there it is, the breakthrough moment…the day we wake up and everything is different. The day we realise it all starts and ends with ourselves.