My teeth (left side, on the top) are sensitive to cold, so I try to avoid crunching ice cubes on that side or letting anything super chilly hit it in just the wrong way. Every once in a while, though, I like to test to see if the sensitivity is still on, so I’ll deliberately take a big gulp of cold water just to see what happens.
In a similar way, it’s useful to occasionally take our emotional temperature instead of assuming constant and enduring truths about how we feel. Emotions fade, time heals, memory fails. You wouldn’t slap a SpongeBob band-aid on your scraped knee and then never bother to remove it to check how the healing was going, would you? Of course not.
What hurt then doesn’t necessarily hurt now and what hurts now won’t necessarily hurt in the future. And the only way to figure out if you’ve gotten over what used to get to you? *Gasp*, it’s to let yourself revisit past hurts, angers and scars to assess whether they still sting in the same way. And if they don’t? Free up that space in your emotional attic! We’re quick to bundle our pain into cardboard boxes, tape them shut, scrawl Do Not Open on top and shove them to the dustiest corner of our psyche. But space fills up fast in there. Eventually, you just stop opening the door lest you be crushed under an avalanche of old ticket stubs, primary six friendship bracelets, songs you can no longer listen to, pictures of happier times, texts, emails undeleted, etc.
At least some of that emotional detritus is ripe for reusing and recycling. The statute of limitations on its hold over you has expired and once you discover that, you can sift through it, talk about it, forgive, forget, get drunk and laugh at your younger self, etc. And then, finally reclaim that prime real estate for other purposes*.
*I am getting there.