Does time heal all wounds?

There are few people who never experience a period when life hurts. One piece of advice these people often get is that they should ‘give it time’. And for this month’s blog I wondered whether this is true.

The question ‘does time heal all wounds?’ can be asked in two ways. The first one is whether time heals all wounds. I recently met several people who showed huge resilience in a dark period in their life. And who could say after a (long) period of time: I managed to put it behind me; I’m moving on.

But I still don’t think that time heals all wounds. There is sadness that can never be overcome. You shouldn’t advise people affected by this to ‘give it time’, but you have surround them with love.

The second way of asking the question is whether it is time that heals. This of course depends on whether the cause of the wound still exists. Because if this cause hasn’t been solved yet, time only works against you. ‘Give it time’ is then the worst advice you can give.

But also if the cause of the wound is gone and the challenge is to recover, it’s not really time doing the work. As in this time you can also ignore the pain and run away from it, lose yourself in anger with the person who you believe caused the wound, or wallow in your victimisation. Whether a wound heals depends on what you do with the time. Only if you take the time to acknowledge and feel the pain and to reflect what this period teaches you about yourself, can a cure be possible.

It’s not time that heals wounds, it’s attention. And attention takes time.


I’m Annemarie Mars: speaker, author and advisor on change.

It is my job to get people thinking about the way they give room, direction and guidance to organizations in motion. So that they can look for the essential conversation to change together.

Want to know more about my (online) presentations? Click here.

“bird-4” by christopher.d.heald is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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