Proverbs can be powerful catalysts for growth and healing. We often rely on them in our darkest and most susceptible moments or as reservoirs of resilience along our paths. We rarely stop to question them or the impact that they have on those who receive them, though we only mean to help, encourage and uplift. Nevertheless, our words and our authenticity carry weight in the lives of those around us and we may want to think critically about the intention behind them. Here ae 5 commonly said proverbs that might need some rethinking.
1. “Time heals all wounds.”
Healing is rarely ever a linear experience and it can involve a number of things. It can take quite a bit of introspection, reflection, and neuropathic rewiring. It can mean community, counseling, and many actionable steps that get us to our most resilient self. Time may soften the blow when it comes to devastating events or conflicts, but it does not heal all wounds.
Action is more often than not needed to heal and move forward buoyantly. When we have a physical injury, we need to address the source of the pain or fracture following the event and not too much time after so that our injuries don’t heal incorrectly or lead to further issues. Sometimes, letting time simply do its thing creates further harm and impact.
Likewise, when it comes to our emotional wounds, too much time passing can create space for us to form beliefs that do not serve us and keep us in an unhealthy cycle. It is safe to say that we can give space where space is needed and still treat our emotional injuries like we do our physical injuries: examine them, bandage them, reflect on what led to them, find a treatment that gets you back to full range of motion (service to others, solitude and reflection, therapy, passions, rest, community–or all of the above!), and overall, have patience.
2.”Be the bigger person.”
It is true that we ought not sabotage our morals in response to provocation. However, telling someone (or even ourselves) to be the bigger person puts all the pressure and onus of resolving conflict on one party to turn the other cheek whilst also ignoring the root of the conflict as well as the person who initiated. In many cases, this statement may be used as subterfuge to avoid addressing a toxic recurring habit in individuals. Accountability is important in every form of conflict resolution.
The more we rely on others to “be the bigger person”, the more we enable unhealthy behaviors in others and betray our peers who are pressured by the responsibility of enduring offense. It’s vital not to enable bullying, offense, or intimidation by relying on unwilling parties to simply not stoop. Maintaining our values and holding others accountable are equally achievable.
3. “Never settle.”
No one should settle for less than they are comfortable with. However, we all get what we settle for even if we settle for our own indecisiveness. It is important to make the distinction between settling for something that does not bring about joy, development, or purpose, and settling for something that does not live up to all of our criteria. Sometimes never settling keeps us from seeing the good in things.
Whether with people or with opportunities, we all face disappointment in those we love and in the livelihoods we choose at some eventual point. Life is tumultuous, pain and setback are unavoidable truths, and nothing we attain is unblemished. Nothing is ever going to be perfect or made to suit our wants and needs so seamlessly.
It is alright to give ourselves permission to settle when and where it makes sense and to do so where we’re growing as well as for the sake of growing. At the point in which not settling is creating a perpetual cycle of unhappiness, lack of fulfilment, choice paralysis, and arrested development, perhaps we can reevaluate what it is we’re not settling for and whether or not we’ve set the bar in a realistic place. Eventually, we all settle.
4. “You can’t love someone until you heal yourself.”
The topic of inner healing and positivity are all the rage in 2022. However, it’s necessary to differentiate between positive self-talk and limiting ourselves for the sake of productivity and development. We ought not stop looking for inner healing and peace whether or not we’re in love. Using the need to heal and work on ourselves as a means to reject love is self-defeating.
Relational healing is a part of life and self development is necessary in all stages, not just the single stage. No one can be their very best all of the time so being open to healthy relationships that nourish our souls and help us to see the picture fully can be a deeply healing journey. Simply put, whether you’re down and out or flying high–it is not a sign of weakness or immaturity to let others love you.
5. “The best things in life are free.”
In theory, this expression is a wonderful belief when we compare our capacity for love, friendship, good health, and joy to our attitudes surrounding consumerism. Those things shouldn’t cost a thing. Realistically, however, each of these comes at a price. Every relationship, whether romantic or platonic, takes a great amount of effort, patience, and work. Where good health is concerned, this requires achieving balance through exercise, eating, and mental wellness- all things that can envelope us physically and emotionally.
Creating joy or fulfillment requires a lot of self-examination, trial, and error and let’s be honest, money may not buy happiness but it does sure help. Many of these areas do not come to us effortlessly or even freely, and they require quite a bit of ourselves and some level of sacrifice. Suffice it to say some of the best things in life, more often than not, are worked on and maintained.