The journey of self-discovery: The essence of being a wounded healer
Thank you for making your way to this post. It’s a meaningful one for me. It all started May of this year; the universe forced me into the journey of self-discovery. Mostly practicing solitude and being aware towards self-understanding. I compare this time to a game of tug of war. Some days it feels like the rope is being pulled away from you, and then you have to pull the rope right back. The only difference with this game is that there is no one on the opposite end of the rope –only you. That’s what self-discovery is all about, for me.
What is self-discovery?
Well, it’s different for everyone, but what I now know for sure is that for most of my life I have been wonder woman. From a young age trying to protect my mother from an abusive husband, my father, who later made the biggest mistake of his life and left his daughter and loved ones to pick up the broken pieces, to trying to fill the role of my mother in my younger brother’s life, I mastered the art of “caretaking others”.
I became an unskilled emotional caretaker –red flag! I gave up my own needs and feelings while caretaking others. But here’s the truth: before you help others, you must first help yourself. So now you see why I compare my journey of self-discovery to a game of tug and war? Some days I get pulled into trying to take care and save everyone around me, but then I have to remember to pull back and take care of me first, so I can better help others. A chapter all on its own.
It is in this chapter of my life that I’ve gotten to know who I really am. I’m uniquely different. And I admit that embracing all of her, even the imperfect parts, is still hard. But I’m learning to love and accept all of me. Because I’m a “wounded healer”.
What is a wounded healer?
Wounded healer is a term created by psychologist Carl Jung. It’s the awareness that those who help others are doing so because they are helping themselves. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you have a desire to help others because of a difficult past, you’re a wounded healer. Your pain, in turn, helps others and heals you too. Thought Catalog by Brianna Wiest explains it best.
The essence of being a wounded healer (me)
1. You give other people advice, because you are telling your younger self what you needed to hear. Your love of helping others heals you too.
2. You’ve wanted to help people since you were young, and your service to others is what makes you happy.
3. You have a strong desire to be recognized for your work, but it can also be your biggest fear.
4. You believe that there is a purpose in suffering and that without struggle, you truly don’t know peace and happiness.
5. Your work is your life, but you wouldn’t have it any other way.
6. It’s in your nature to help others too much, and you struggle to let people self-heal and figure it out on their own.
7. Criticism can feel painful to you. Because for someone who has been deeply wounded, criticism can sting more than it should (but you power through).
8. You are grateful for the difficulties you went through. They deeply transformed you, and without them, you wouldn’t be where you are today.
9. You are always growing and open to ways that can make you a better version of yourself.
10. You want to fix everything and everyone, sometimes to a fault.
11. You know your purpose in the world.
12. You don’t need to save the world. Just knowing that you helped even just one person in their life is enough –that’s your life goal.
So, this is more of me. And I'm not going to sugarcoat it...the process of self-discovery is difficult, but it's the best gift you can ever give yourself. Because the journey to happiness and success really does start here.