There’s a saying that those who can’t, teach.
This theory works especially well, ironically, in healing. Many of us have been hurt badly in so many ways. By our parents. Our partners. Our friends. Ourselves. Those whom we entrusted with everything.
I was unhappily married for 12 years before I realized I was experiencing abuse. I was told a happy wife would make a happy life but no one explained what would happen if I could never make her happy.
It got to the point that I couldn’t make a single decision regarding the simplest house chore without asking my partner’s permission. I was controlled, I was isolated. I was manipulated. I was made to feel guilty for doing anything on my own, even just visiting family. I took regular trips to the emergency room sure I was dying only to find I was having a panic attack.
When I finally ended it–because I realized I would have to be the one to end it–I was made to believe it was my fault. That I was a terrible person. I was told I had let everyone down, broken promises I had made. Caused distress to my partner through my actions. She struck back at me in every way she could, from fights over property to monetary support. For a time, I believed the lies.
But the week I did it, the panic attacks disappeared. Over the next several months, my soul learned to sing, if that makes sense. I even learned to love again.
But to this day, I cannot trust another person.
We are a Society of Broken Healers. We’ve experienced things we still have trouble articulating to others. Things that make our heart race when we see someone, or read something, or even smell something that triggers very old wounds.
We’ve been left…broken. Worse, our feelings and imperfect memories cause us to believe that what happened to us was somehow our fault and our inability to heal influences everyone else we interact with. The choices we make then lead us to greater pain as we find ourselves in a downward cycle of despair.
But there’s a way out of it.
When in pain, some of us have learned to stop focusing on ourselves, and share love with someone else who is hurting. Friend, stranger, it doesn’t matter. The more we listen, the more intuitive we become, and the more we see that everyone is going through something we cannot possibly understand right now.
There are so many ways to do this. We can all become better at listening simply by ceasing to talk, and more importantly, by slowing down our consumption of so much distracting media. Maybe we’re good speaking. Maybe we’re good at writing. The point is that we can save ourselves from our destructive criticisms through empathy and turn our darkness inside out, thereby exposing it to light. By making ourselves vulnerable, which is to say, we face our fears eye-to-eye.
Practically speaking, we know there are people all around us who are going through something like we have. Knowing this, why would we spend a minute more wallowing alone in our own misery rather than reaching out a hand to help someone who is falling into it now?
It won’t hurt. Why? Because we set no expectations. We expect nothing in return. Not reciprocity, not love, not kindness. Not even a “thank you.” In truth, the people we help, may not even realize how we helped. Its not important. Only recognizing the pain, the fear, the anger in someone else and enabling them to see it for what it is–a surmountable thing–is important. Only helping them translate their emotions into something powerful and creative matters. Then, seeing how we coped, they too may find another to reach out to, to stop focusing on their own pain and help someone else through theirs. A Ponzi Scheme of Pain. The tragic irony is that unlike dollars, there’s no shortage of pain. The euphoric beauty of it is that there is no shortage of healing either. So the scheme never ends. But our pain can.
The more of us who hurt, the more we can heal. How so? Because the act of healing another in turn naturally helps us to heal ourselves. By turning our attention away from ourselves, the energy of our actions turns from negative low energy to positive high-frequency vibrations. By finding the beauty in others so that they may better appreciate why they’re here in this lifetime, so we better learn ourselves about why we’re here.
We who cannot heal ourselves, heal others. And in the process, we too discover healing. We have realized after hurting for so long, that its not really about us anymore. It never was. We begin to understand that we’ve taken personally what the universe has wrought and we only begin to understand that the universe just is. We’ve seen that by holding on to our own pain for so long we have missed the bigger picture of why we are here. And how we can influence the universe rather than alway let it influence us.
So rather than lash out, or send our negativity to another person who does not need it, rather than stop trusting in anything anymore, we’ve come to a simple conclusion: We teach. We teach others how to cope by showing them how we did it. How we survived.
It is enough sometimes to know we’re not alone. Especially now, in the midst of terribly interesting times.
Ultimately, we do it for our own reasons, healing being most important. I do it for my little boy because I don’t want him to ever feel what I feel. Especially when it comes to father figures, but that’s another story. I am the breakwater that protects his fragile harbor. Sure, he’ll experience his own pains. I know I cannot protect him forever from the universe. He has his own life to live.
But I can show him how we heal.
We are a Society of Broken Healers, and we heal in the act of healing others.
We lift each other up.