When I came out of the hospital from having a Conversion Disorder and being totally paralyzed, I was met with a lot of encouragement. Unfortunately there were those that would say, "just pray about it" or "you just need to forgive and move on" or "just let it go". I could make a million statements here of things that people said and none of them were the least bit helpful.
I remember telling one person that told me to just pray about my situation, that if you had broken your arm, would you just pray about it and hope it would heal? More than likely you would go to a doctor and have them set it in a cast to get it to heal. Praying can be good and has been shown through research to help in healing, but we all need to get real! Words can hurt, even if you think you are saying something good.
Time and time again, I see things written and talked about where people are chastised and shamed for asking pointless questions through their difficult times. We've probably all been in these moments asking why this happened or what did we do wrong or what could we have done differently and on and on and on. Maybe they seem pointless to some and maybe they appear pointless to us, but they serve a valid purpose.
To tell people they are pointless in asking these repeated questions is not helpful. Get it? Let me repeat that in case you didn't hear what I just said. Asking pointless questions helps you heal. To tell people they are pointless in asking these repeated questions is just not helpful. It is harmful.
In the book, The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge states,
"We grieve by calling up one memory at a time, reliving it, and then letting it go. At a brain level we are turning on each of the neural networks that were wired together to form our perception of the person, experiencing the memory with exceptional vividness, then saying good-bye one network at a time."
When author, Norman Doidge, talks about grieving, he is talking about letting go of whatever situation you may have experienced or are facing. As he explains in the book, the more enhanced the memories and connected experiences are through love or other emotions, the more neural pathways must be healed and let go.
If you read his book, you will see that he states that when a person is doing all these things that may seem like they are going nowhere, they are actually helping to heal themselves. What may seem like a process leading to nowhere is exactly what the person (or even us) needs to go through. It is a process of recalling these neural pathway memories up one at a time and learning to let go of them. The process is not immediate.
So, for anyone to say that it is a waste of time to do this, I say you don't know what you are talking about! If you're a person that says, just forgive and move on, you're in all reality hurting that person's path of healing more than offering anything good for them. The time table for them to heal may not match anything in your mind of what it should be and it may take longer than anyone wants to realize.
Yes, I also know that most people can't be with people in grief and loss and troubling times. It often resonates within another person who hasn't fully healed all the neural pathways in their own life. Instead of them recognizing this fact, they try to mold and manipulate the other individual experience the rough moments to something they can't do in their own life. This is not how you help others heal and it is not how you heal your own life.
You may find it helpful for the person struggling to gently suggest an alternate question they may ask themselves instead. However, be careful that you are not injecting your time line of healing upon them when doing this. It is a very delicate and careful procedure because if you push them too fast and too far before they are ready, they might miss the healing of the neural pathway they are on.
The next time you think asking pointless questions is a waste of time, stop and think. See why you are saying that and how it applies to your own life. Realize, that the asking of pointless questions is most likely helping the person heal in ways you (or they) cannot see. Don't harm their healing by injecting your issues on to them. Instead, walk through the fire with them and as you help them heal, you most likely will be helping yourself heal.
Blog Post And Images (c) 10/10/14 by Don Shetterly
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