Mental Health

In Order to Heal We Need to Hurt


That seems a bit pessimistic doesn’t it? If not straight up illogical? After all – it’s better to be mostly put together then irreparable isn’t it? That’s what I though too, a friend is to blame for this thought stewing in my head for several months now though, they told me “You need to break in order to heal.”

Which.. Sounds very dark, and threatening in some instances. But this ties into my post on the dangers of ignoring your emotions too long.

Let me give an example before getting too much farther it:

Say you have a t-shirt, for whatever reason, you don’t want to get rid of this t-shirt. So when it get’s it first hole you repair it by sewing it together. It’s a small hole, nothing to worry about. However as time goes on you start getting too many holes to repair. It takes so much time, you don’t have the time for fixes that take a long time. You start patching it, badly. The fabrics are mismatched, the stitches are crooked. Eventually, it looses the t-shirt’s original look entirely. You can’t even tell what the original pattern on the shirt was. Because of the variety of fabrics you used, the shirt is itchy and uncomfortable. Finally, you agree the shirt doesn’t work as a shirt anymore.

Rather then give up on it as a shirt you decide to turn it into a quilt. After all, quilts are designed to be beautiful creations made of mismatched material. Slowly, with a lot more dedication and effort then you originally put into the shirt, you’ve created a beautiful creation. This time you’re much more careful, but when it gets torn you know you need to take the time to fix it the right way, rather then rushing through it in order to get back to your daily ever-urgent responsibilities.

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Did that make sense? Think of it this way – We’re the t-shirt, every single hole is something, that at one point hurt us. Except rather then being physically hurt we’ve been emotionally hurt. Due to how busy and caught up with the world we get, we often need to patch ourselves up and hope for the best. Or perhaps badly sew together a hole. However in the analogy, we eventually do realize we need to completely change ourselves into something better. Eventually, we realize that we can’t continue in our current state. We need to evaluate every thing that caused us to change, and slowly pick ourselves apart in order to see how we need to heal.

But what happens when we heal is we don’t stay the same we were before we were damaged. It’s impossible. Instead we become a new thing entirely, and we become more lovely, practical, and put together. Even if we get hurt again with another tear or rip – we know to take the time to slowly heal it. We might even be able to do it quicker then we did before, but instead of doing it sloppily we can do it efficiently.

So how do we go about repairing ourselves this way?

The first step is seeing what the most recent damage is. Repairing scar tissue isn’t as easy as getting the ointment from the medicine cabinet. Start with an easy thing to fix – your fight (misunderstanding ) with a friend the other day for example. It might be anxiety inducing (actually let’s be real – it is) but if we take the time to talk to them about how they hurt us, and work to fix the wound before it has time to get deep, we’ve saved ourselves a lot of trouble down the road.


Digging into ourselves like this can be really hard and really painful. But most things that heal our physical injuries hurt as well. Ointments, surgery, stitches, etc. all hurt in the short term, maybe even in what seems like the “long” term. But they keep us from needing bigger and more painful care later on. If you ignore a wound on your leg for example, it gets infected. You don’t want to take the time to put ointment on it or rebandage it regularly. Eventually it gets bad enough that you need an amputation. If you’d just taken care of the wound in the first place you wouldn’t have gotten this bad. Which, we all do this. It’s part of trying to protect people and work through our issues. But what ends up happening is that we reach the point where we need to remember that we’re a person too, and we need to protect ourselves.

If you’ve been sloppily repairing yourself for awhile now and don’t want to take the time to address the wounds – I understand. I still have those moments. I’d say I have about half a t-shirt and half a quilt. Sometimes I realize something I had added to the quilt is still on the t-shirt, and sometimes I have to accept that the quilt can still be damaged slightly. That’s why it’s a quilt – it can be mismatched and oddly shaped, but it can still be beautiful and useful.

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