Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Love, Betrayal, Closure and Healing (part 2)

Perhaps you may have noticed the subtle title change in today’s part 2. Yesterday’s blog ended with the question how to find closure. After seeing a most impressive TED video – Beyond Closure by Nancy Berns – I have concluded that I was looking for the right answer to the wrong question. The proper question is: how does one heal? (e.g., betrayal, broken heart, from a loss).

Nancy Berns is a sociologist at Drake University. In this video “she looks at the space between grief and closure and has found that not only is closure a fabricated concept, it is doing us more harm than good” (TED). She wonders why do so many people judge someone for choosing to carry his/her grief and loss forward? Nancy Berns states that our society has this popular idea that we need closure (e.g., of our grief) in order to move forward.

The basic message of that TED video is that the need for closure is often misguided. Healing is far more important than closure. Closure assumes that grief and joy are two separate entities and not interconnected. It assumes that we can “close” our grief and can continue living a happy life – without grief. That assumption is flawed. Nancy Berns states that “closure does not even exist”.

Actually, I think I was getting quite obsessed with this need for closure until I saw this TED video. Her words are comforting and consoling. Watching this TED video was quite emotional. I sincerely recommend it to anyone who experienced grief.

Remarkably, there is not that much (relevant) information available on healing. Many Google search results seem totally irrelevant. However, let’s start with the popular saying that time heals all wounds.

Time, in and of itself, does not heal all wounds. There is no magic in the one- or two-year anniversary date following a loss. Whether real or imagined, the majority [..] who have lost their life partner spend much of the first year worrying about their basic survival needs. Once these issues have been resolved, the emotional impact of the loss may dominate the subsequent year. (source)

“Love heals. Nothing else does.” I found this “simple” remark in the TED conversation “How do we heal?” Actually, this remark makes perfect sense to me as the simplest and most obvious answers are often the best answers. Hence, a love that was betrayed can only be cured – healed – by a new love. In other words: a heart that is closed, will always yearn for love – especially its lost love. A heart that reopens finds a spot for “storing” its lost love. That is the essence of healing.

Reopening my heart requires overcoming the fears that were caused by the betrayal – or the loss of a loved one in other situations. Francois de la Rochefoucauld once said: “We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears.” And also: “Hope and fear are inseparable. There is no hope without fear, nor any fear without hope.” His statements are very true in my case.

My challenge lies in breaking the vicious circle of blooming hope and crushing fear. That requires courage and patience (i.e., time). Some people will appear too soon, others too late. Some are worth the courage, and others are not. Time will tell. Some day, I hope to write part 3 of this blog. For now, I feel that I have made an important step towards healing following writing both blogs.

 The Healer (1989) – John Lee Hooker (1917-2001), featuring Carlos Santana (lyrics, Wiki)


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