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Time Creates Distance; Reflection Creates Wisdom

Updated: May 15

wisdom, advice, life,
Time gives you distance

Time gives distance; reflection gives you wisdom.


It’s often in those times of transition, endings, and gut-wrenching pain that become our most definitive time; the time when our old life departs, and the new one begins…even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

And it’s often in those times when it doesn’t even seem as if it’s possible for a new life to begin…because the pain is so insurmountable that we’re not even sure if we’re going to make it through. And in the midst of all the heartache and pain, it’s hard to even fathom feeling anything other than these heavy emotions.

But spoiler alert: You do make it through.

Although time doesn’t heal all wounds, time is often a great facilitator that assists us through challenging experiences. I’m sure you’ve heard it before:

“ Just give it some time”,

“in time, this will pass”

…I think you’re catching my drift. But time is great for most experiences to lose the chokehold they have on you, which can then pave the way for the inner work to be done.


Think back to any heartbreak you had growing up. I’m sure at the time it felt as though your world was ending, that you would never love again, that life had lost all its zest.

I remember back to a heartbreak I experienced in 2014. Long story short: it wasn’t my choice to end things, which made things even harder for me to manage and work through. I remember feeling as though I had fallen off a flatbed truck that was going 90 on the highway with its brick load falling me as I was lying on the hot pavement, already scratched from the impact of the fall. It seemed as though the only reprieve from the heartache and pain I was experiencing was when I slept. Only to wake up in the morning with the same heavy dread feeling that I would carry with me, attempting to find any morsal of energy and inspiration to peel myself up and off of my bed to start the day. Every routine task seemed as though I had to force myself to do it; from brushing my teeth, to showering, to even getting dressed….it all felt slow, heavy, tedious, as if I was dragging a giant boulder chained to my ankle around as I completed each mundane task.

You name it, I’m sure you experienced and felt similar feelings. Now think back to six months post-experience. How did you feel then? Probably not as bad as you felt at the moment of the breakup. Why is that?

Time is a fantastic creator of distance, both in terms of proximity to the experience, physically and emotionally. It’s over time that the most challenging experiences lose the emotional charge they hold over us. But in some instances, that may not be the case.

As when time has created the distance between us and the experience, but the emotional charge remains. It’s usually in those moments when reflection (among other support systems like seeking professional support in the form of therapist or councillor) offers us a deeper dive into working through the emotional charge.

So, how do we navigate through these troubling waters to get to calmer seas?

In a study on this very topic, Infurna and Luthar (2016) found that most people aren’t born naturally resilient, as if it’s a character trait, but rather, resiliency is a skillset that’s strengthened by working through adversity – or such soul-crushing heartbreaks, as I did in 2014.

Similar to how we develop muscles when we work out at the gym, the same applies to our emotional body as well. When we change our perception of a challenging experience to one of opportunity for growth, we allow ourselves to soften around the experience to work with the underlying belief the experience may be aspecting to work through and past it rather than waiting for time to pass in hopes that that will heal it. Kinda like when we get sedated for a surgery, only to awake after the procedure was completed. Unfortunately, resiliency doesn’t exactly work that way.

It’s with reflection that allows us the opportunity to extract the lesson – or wisdom, if you will – to offer us the opportunity to grow through and past the experience to give it new meaning away from heartbreak and into the lesson we took from it. Unless we begin to address and heal our core beliefs (“I’m not good enough”, “I’m unworthy of love”, etc). Time doesn’t heal our wounds, time just passes by…often with more disastrous results and more to sort through when we eventually get to doing the inner work.

In the case of my past heartbreak, what got me out of my funk was changing my perspective of the heartbreak. Instead of viewing it as this great tragedy in my life (full disclosure: I told myself and others I would never love again, but I definitely did and they were greater loves), I told myself that each morning the pain would be less than the previous day, similar to when the sun rises slightly early each morning in the spring. This leveraged  time to create distance between me and the experience, and by giving myself distance from the experience, I was then able to begin the inner work of addressing the limiting self beliefs it was highlighting.

In the case of heartbreak, it may be the relationship fell apart for many reasons which  rarely, if anything, had to do with you, but the enormous weight of the heartbreak could be attributed to the experience pulling on a limited self-belief of “I’m not lovable”, reinforcing a self-fulfilling prophecy of “everybody leaves me”.  Which in it of itself could almost prolong the heartache, especially if there’s any bypassing or numbing behaviors.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds, but it can offer some distance that we may need in order to begin the inner work of feeling, healing and working through the experience.


Sometimes the only way out is through. But on the other side of this experience is the new you waiting.

love kaley
kaley evans dot com

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