To understand what it is to heal, we must first define what it means to be wounded. The term ‘wounded person’ conjures up imagery of a broken individual, someone in a dire state who has experienced harsh and unforgiving trauma and carries easily visible scarring as a result, either physical or psychological.
It is surprising, then, to be told that wounded in this context actually refers to a state of mind which you and I mistakenly take to be normal, a state of being that you are intimately familiar with in your day to day life!
A wounded person is anyone who has experienced something unpleasant in the past and has not been able to fully acknowledge, process and release what occurred to them. This results in impressions from the past that are carried around within as shadows in your everyday life. These shadows exist as unresolved feelings and emotions within your psyche that control how you behave and how you portray and perceive yourself in your day to day life. The experiences that create these shadows can be as simple as an embarrassing moment where perhaps you momentarily felt judged or inadequate to more complex and drawn out experiences such as dysfunctional relationships, where you might have been victimised, manipulated or hurt and disappointed over a period of time.
The result of these unpleasant and unresolved past experiences is a change in your inner dialogue, sometimes easily visible, at other times subtle and sub-conscious, hidden even from yourself. This change gives rise and power to various interrelated feelings such as 'I am not safe', 'I am not good enough', 'I am not loved', 'I don’t belong here' and so on. The consequence of carrying these beliefs is insecurity and unease within, leading to a range of behaviours and actions to compensate for this gnawing feeling of dis-ease.
Some distract themselves by binging on mild addictions such as shopping, entertainment or travel, while some embrace fuller addictions of substance abuse to forget what they carry. Some channel their pain into ambition and drive, pushing themselves to excel and succeed at any cost so that they may finally prove their worth, while others give up and walk away from life's challenges, already convinced of their inability to achieve and create. Some close their hearts to protect themselves and begin drawing boundaries between themselves and others to avoid getting hurt, while others do the opposite, opening their hearts without discrimination out of a feeling of lack, turning themselves into doormats and attracting hurt and rejection in dysfunctional relationships in various settings.
In all of these behaviours, the initial motivation to act is the same: an attempt to escape fear, insecurity, powerlessness and the underlying feelings of sadness and pain caused by unpleasant experiences from the past. The end result is a seemingly endless and constant search for that one permanent and lasting experience, achievement or acquisition that will finally make us complete, safe and happy. In focusing on changing external factors in our lives or acquiring new things that will make us happy, whether objects or relationships, we fail to see that the limitations and fears that make us feel incomplete are actually within us, and that unwittingly we have been carrying around a mental prison that has been weighing us down by distorting and controlling how openly we allow ourselves to embrace life and be happy.
Discovering Our Natural State
If the above is what it means to be wounded, to be healed then simply implies the opposite! Living life with a sense of empowerment, joy, hope and positive anticipation for what will unfold next, at all times. Meeting life with love and acceptance at all turns, without placing conditions on the experiences that come your way. Embracing all aspects of your life and of yourself without feeling the need to filter out the ‘unpleasant’ parts. Being fully aware of the experience that your self-worth and your power to shape your life are not dependent on any external, transient factors and that there is no need to seek validation from outside of who you are.
To be healed is to know and feel that good health and adventure beckon at all times and that your own love and inner strength is a power that can see you through all the ups and downs of life. The ability to live life in the moment, without fear, hate or pain colouring your judgement, with a natural acceptance and ease with all that is, where the past remains in the past and isn’t dragged with you to poison your today, is the embodiment of healing and living without wounds.
At first glance, this sounds unrealistic, idealistic and also unattainable, but this is only because we have spent such a long time living with our shadows and catering to them. The above stops sounding incredible once you recognise the real journey that underlies true healing, the final destination that you and all of us are heading towards...