The Wounded Healer
From our ancient past to the present day, often the most powerful healers are the ones who know how to be with pain and suffering. Out of some of our greatest pain can rise our greatest offerings of transformation, and not only for ourselves alone but for others as well.
I've heard that most counselors become counselors due to their own experience of pain and integration. I think some of the best of my work as well as for some of the greatest healers I know comes from empathy. For me, some of the best work I am able to do in the realm of self-love, forgiveness, and authenticity, are heightened because of my own pain in these realms. Moving from a despising of myself to a celebration of myself, moving from a God of fear to a God of love, moving from a powerlessness to a quiet strength... All of these journeys stem from my own woundedness. The beauty is that in being with my own pain and process, I have learned empathy, to feel deeply and to be with others in the midst of pain.
As a wounded healer, I no longer work to project my pain, inflicting it unconsciously on others, I allow my wounds to shape the way I hold space and invite others back into their story. I have humility, because for all the "progress" and "then and now" in my communication, I still see how I can react out of woundedness. I look at body and soul, and many a scar remains. My own capacity for brokenness and fragmentation is still there, the question one of trajectory: Do I choose to run from or traffic in my pain? Or do I embrace it on my continued journey?
The beauty is this: Our stories, our own experiences, our wounds... They can become bridges and gateways for others. "The shortest distance between two points is a line from me to you." We are able to connect with others who know our pain. Upon the bridging connection of empathy comes the gate into new realms of understanding and expression. Because we are intrinsically connected, even in our distinct and disparate stories, our own painful journeys when authentically shared can invite others to be with and embrace their own stories on their journey to acceptance and individuation.
Whether or not you have thought of yourself as a healer, I dare you to consider the possibility that you are. The pain you have known on your journey is not an isolated event in the universe, there are others who know what you know and have felt what you feel. “We are already one. What we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.” -Thomas Merton. Listening to the pain of your story can be the first part of an invitation to function in that "healer" role. We are not "fixers" of others, with illusory cure-all vaccines and a savior complex, we are participants and companions with others in their own journey of health and integration.
Be a gate, be a bridge, be a wounded healer. Be willing to be with yourself, and let that sensitize you to the others who may know your unique experience too.