A Context for Healing – Part 2
by Rob Brookler
We concluded Part 1 of this article emphasizing that in the context of our personal healing, judgment and comparisons simply do not apply. Our particular healing – our particular areas of challenge – are ours and unique to us.
Indeed, to judge or condemn them is to misunderstand their role in our lives. In fact, it is by honoring our areas of wounding that we make them ours and begin to return them to wholeness.
Honoring our wounding, in practice
Again, our healing is ours and no one else’s. When others play critic with our lives and our progress – and they will – we must make a point of honoring our progress and our challenges. We must reserve this assessment for ourselves.
Indeed, often someone will actually seek out our “weaknesses” or our wounding, looking for vulnerability, guilt, or shame – picking at us for some place where we feel “insecure.” (This, by the way, is always a defensive posture, designed to protect their own wounding and insecurity.)
When we encounter this, it’s best not to engage … or to be taunted into a fight. At these times, our best strategy is to pull back and remind ourselves that: Our wounding is simply none of their business. We don’t need to actively defend ourselves or apologize for this wounded place. It’s simply not their province.
A time and place for healing
Nor, by the way, is this “confrontation” the proper moment and place for us to analyze and experience our pain or wounding. We’ve walked into an attacking, judgmental energy. This is certainly not a healing atmosphere. Our job is to recognize this and politely, but firmly “close the door.”
In doing this, we are not denying the existence of our wounding; we are denying that we need to feel ashamed of it. We are denying that the area we are healing is open to outside judgment. It is our challenge: it has nothing to do with them. In protecting it at this moment, we are honoring this wounded place … and taking a powerful step towards healing it.
Healing vs. perfecting
In our enthusiasm to heal, we must also be mindful of our own harshness and critical nature. When we become impatient with our healing process – when we’re hostile or judgmental with ourselves because our wholeness is not yet “complete” in some area – we have forgotten the context of healing. And we have, for the moment, left the realm of healing.
To exit this “critical” energy and return to the realm of healing, we must simply pause and remember that this wounded place is our challenged area … not our area of mastery. It is the area and arena in which we are learning. We cannot measure our progress here in terms of attaining perfection … or by comparing ourselves to someone not challenged in this area. Again, in this area, we’re playing for a different prize.
To illustrate this, let’s return to our earlier example surrounding the disabled person. Being disabled, this person may never come to walk without difficulty. Despite all his efforts, he may live his entire life without completely eliminating this challenge. But by virtue of these efforts, he may come to understand and appreciate what movement truly means far more profoundly than one never challenged in this way. Indeed, he may come to understand and embody what independence means, what freedom means, far beyond that of the strongest runner.
Reminders of our wounding … of our challenge
So when it comes to our life-lessons and our life-healing, we should not look to master the areas in which we are challenged. Unlike some physical injuries, our personal “wounds” may never completely disappear. As we grow through our lives, we will almost certainly be reminded of them.
The trick is not to be discouraged when we encounter that old challenge at a new level. When we feel that pain, that fear, that wounded belief that we thought we’d finally healed, it is not an invalidation of these past efforts. It is, in fact, a sign of our growth. We’ve reached further and pressed out against this “wound,” this limitation … so that, as we move forward, we may leave more of it behind.
Making our healing work for us
Unlike the disabled person, our particular limitation may not be a physical one: not something we can point to and identify clearly and discretely. Our areas of wounding may relate to our self-esteem or our self-image. We may be challenged in our relationships or our careers. We may feel limitation in our capacity for joy, vibrancy, or emotional balance. We may contend with “wounded” patterns that regularly awaken old feelings of sadness or anger. Or, indeed, we may have an illness or physical condition that limits us in our life.
But whatever our area of limitation, part of our healing will come from the realization that we are not our wounding: that though our wounding may challenge us, it does not rule us or our lives. In order to heal and profit from our healing, our wounding must work for us. We must begin to see our wounding as an area of challenge that we’ve chosen. And we must see our limitations not as overshadowing our greater strength, wholeness, and freedom, but as pointing the way to it.
It is the nature of our healing and our life-learning that we must recover the truest parts of ourselves and our knowing – often at some cost in emotional distress and wounding. This is a testament not to life’s unfairness, but to our greater wholeness and our extraordinary eagerness to grow. If we can be patient with our healing – seeing our limitations not as weaknesses but as a path to that greater strength – our distress will fade and leave us freer and more empowered. And when we look back at our lives, having let go of the pain and judgment, we will discover that we have gained very much more than we ever lost.
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