I recently received a call from a young man still reeling from the impact of a divorce that had happened two years ago. He’d been married for 12 years. His litany of pain was palpable: people were falling away from him and his business was rapidly diminishing.
He told me that he’d been waiting for two years to feel better. I asked him what actions he’d taken accomplish that goal. He was stumped. He said he was waiting for “time to heal his wounds.”
I asked him, “If you discovered your car had a flat tire, would you sit down and wait for air to jump back into your tire?”
He laughed and said, “Of course not.”
Then I asked, “Would you get in the car and drive it on the flat tire?”
“No,” he snorted, “That would destroy the tire and ruin the rim.”
“Ah,” said I, “so what would you do?”
“I’d change the tire or call the auto club to come and fix it.”
“Oh, so you’d take some action that would fix the tire.”
“Yet, in the two years since your divorce, you’ve taken no actions to deal with your broken heart.”
“I didn’t know there were any ‘actions’ I could take; I thought I just had to wait to feel better.”
Bottom line: Time won’t heal a broken heart any more than air will jump back into a flat tire.
Russell Friedman is executive director of The Grief Recovery Institute and co-author of The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses and When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving, and Other Losses (both HarperCollins).
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