Something I’ve been working on: Coming up with what I feel is a proper response to people when they – out of the goodness of their heart – say something along the lines of: I hope you have a rapid recovery! or Heal quickly! or Hope you feel better fast! or Get better soon!
Here’s the thing: the road to recovery and the path of healing takes time. There is no quick fix or fast-paced approach. Healing is also not a linear process. There will be times when it feels like progress is being made one day only to feel like a step has been taken backwards the next day. This is the way of things. So I’ve been contemplating what I might say that would gently push back against all of the sentiments centered on getting better as quickly as possible, as though the goal were to power through mending my broken ankle at top speed.
Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear folks wish me a speedy recovery, there’s an energetic burden I feel is being saddled onto me in their choice of words. I can feel that person’s anxiety and elevated stress levels coming through. The urgent prompt for me to get better ASAP is not just a little thing people do & say. It’s not just their way of expressing care. Words matter. And, whether we know it or not: words mean something. Every word we use and say and think means something. Every time. Good intentions super matter but they aren’t the whole deal. Just because we mean well doesn’t mean that what we’re saying is helpful or skillful or kind – or even true.
When I was at the market yesterday, the cashier said something in parting to the effect of: Get better fast! I responded by saying, in a friendly tone (which is SUPER important): Healing takes time. After I said it, I thought: That was pretty good. Sometimes the best answer is short & sweet.
I’m not interested in making it some kind of race to the finish line here. The faster faster faster approach is maybe great when it comes to running a race, but applying that same mentality to healing is not a good plan.
Dear society: We have a long way to go and much unlearning to do when it comes to knowing how to care well for ourselves & others. The messaging around happiness/wellness/okayness existing sometime in the future is strong.
Next time you or someone you care about has an illness or injury, please don’t tell yourself, or them, to hurry up and get better ASAP. Maybe say instead: May you rest well my friend. May you give yourself all the time you need to heal.