Mental Health: Healing Ourselves so We can Heal the World

in Natural Medicine2 months ago

Many years ago — I'm talking about maybe three decades, now — I used to regularly attend self-growth and self-development workshops and spiritual retreats.

My reason for doing so was partly to learn more about myself and my "wounds," and partly to understand my place in the universe better, but also to learn more about how I could best be of service and help other people live better lives with less suffering. Very idealistic, right?


When I was in my early teens, I often talked to an older gentleman who imparted to me the idea that whatever we might want out of life, it was wise to strive towards leaving the world a better place, as a result of our having been here. Of course, that can mean different things to different people... whether the interpretation is "building monuments" or "being kind to people."


As I went through my years of "seeking," one of the phrases or concepts I often came across was this notion that we needed to heal ourselves before we could effectively hope to heal other people.

I suppose I knew that to be true in some way, based on remembering the old saying "physician heal thyself."

And yet — as a common counterpoint — one of the truisms that often echoes through the mental health and self development industry is the notion that we tend to teach what we need to heal.

Perhaps that sentiment arises from the reality that it is through our interactions with others who have endured similar suffering and gone through similar experiences that we learn the true nature of our wounds... as a result of which we might be able to heal them.

"Wounds" are funny things. We all have them. Show me someone who insists they don't have any old wounds, and I'll show you someone who's busy lying to themselves. Show me someone who insists looking at "old wounds" is "nonsense" and a waste of time, and I'll show you someone who's afraid of looking directly at the demons lurking inside themselves.

When delving into the issue of "wounds," I always remember a particular scene from the show "Band of Brothers" in which a wounded soldier insists he can't drive the Jeep because he's been shot. His Commanding Officer replies "Son, EVERYbody's been shot. Just drive the Jeep."


Such is life. We've all been "shot," in one way, or another.

Is that "victimology?" Not really... it's merely acknowledging that we shouldn't expect to make it through life unscathed.

The healing process begins with the simple acknowledgment that yes, we have in fact been wounded by something... something that perhaps is still causing us to react in a certain way that's (a) no longer necessary and (b) causes problems and suffering in some aspect of our lives.

Wounds are strange, and often subtle, and sometimes obvious.


Maybe we watched our brother get hit and killed by a car, and have denied ourselves the right to "feel" pain and sadness since then... even if we're fully functional in all other aspects of living.

Sometimes it's subtle. In my own case, I grew up being largely ignored, and when I wasn't, it felt like I was mostly an inconvenience and in the way. Whereas I grew into a somewhat well adjusted adult, I none-the-less spent my life until my mid-30's making poor choices because much of my attention was directed at "staying out of people's way."

It's unlikely you'll get a work promotion if you're always trying not to be seen...

I had not yet acknowledged that I had a wound.


And yet, it was at this same time I was really delving into the idea that I wanted to help others feel like they were suffering less... because I was more and more often noticing how many people seemed to "get in their own way" of what they truly wanted... and yet having no understanding why they would always sabotage themselves; in work, in friendships, in love.

As I was doing, in my own life.

This post is not intended to solicit anyone to talk about their wounds... rather, it's an invitation to simply — on your own time — reflect on irritating habits that perhaps have their roots in something that happened to you, in a distant past.

As Socrates allegedly said: "The unexamined life is not worth living."


I remain somewhat ambivalent as to whether we really need to heal ourselves first, before we can help the world.

I'm inclined to think the more important part of the equation is to simply be aware that we have our own wounds, as we strive to help others with theirs. Even especially those who come at us with sarcastic and ascerbic comments in response to the idea that healing is even necessary.

As the old saying goes: "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." We do have choices...

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

How about YOU? Do you like setting goals and then checking back to see how you did? Or are you more of a "go with the flow" person? Have you any goals for this 4th quarter of 2020? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!


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Created at 20201115 22:48 PST



How many times have we felt bad for no apparent reason? The tensions that we accumulate inside ourselves are reflected in our exterior.
“In the years that I have been practicing, I have met various cancer patients who have fully recovered after a terminal diagnosis, people who a priori had a few months to live. I don't think they were miraculous cases; In my opinion, these phenomena show that the mind can go further, deeper and change the fundamental schemes that design the body. It can erase the errors of the program, so to speak, and end any disease, be it cancer, diabetes, coronary heart disease or any disorder that has disordered the general scheme.
The brain for the body is essential. Keeps the body healthy. In addition, as the Romans already defended, a healthy body is essential for a healthy soul, and it is important because a healthy brain helps to have a healthy body.
The most proven techniques to control our emotions are cognitive techniques. To change emotions we have to change thoughts, since emotion and thought go together, and if we change thought we can regulate both our emotions and our actions. Cognitive techniques such as mental rehearsal, thought detection and perspective change will help us heal the inside in order to heal the outside.
Emotions can be a powerful healing element and economically cheaper. Although there will always be factors that seem to escape the obsession to control the complexity of the healing processes.

There's no doubt that the mind-body connection is extremely important, and the mind plays a huge part in how we feel.

Perhaps the best example is the well-documented "Placebo Effect" through which patients who think they are given a working drug (but actually just a suger pill) somehow experience improvements in their condition.

Perhaps the most important thing is simply to find balance.

Chiron is always a big teacher about wounds for me. In fact, it wasn't til I encountered this in an astrological reading that I realise how much I was governed by my deepest wound. The power is within realising what teachers our wounds are.

Well, the thing about our deep wounds is that they are often "sneaky" and our responses as a result of them are justifiable.

Of course, the problem is that something that was the best possible strategy when we were teenagers may not be so, now. And the sneakiness? For example, even as I was well aware of my predilection for "invisibility," I still kept choosing "invisible" jobs.

I remain somewhat ambivalent as to whether we really need to heal ourselves first, before we can help the world.

I think neitchze summed that up very well..
"How can someone who can't save himself, save others?
...Supposing I have the key to your chains, why should your lock and my lock be the same?.."

My 'stepsister'(for want of a better term) worked with mother Theresa for a while, in India - And she was a bitch! (Theresa, not my stepsister).

Yeah, I've heard that about Theresa, from various sources.

The whole argument has always been interesting to me from the perspective of being able to know right action, even if we don't necessarily take right action, ourselves.

I've tended to find (not always but enough to notice), that those who know but do not take action - and then try to impart 'knowledge' theoretically, are the less authentic human beings.
This is why I think education is best left to the over 40's.
A degree doesn't cut it,imo - but having life experiences from doing is far more valuable.

Hells to the yeah!
That pokes at that old truism that "having knowledge" isn't the same as "having wisdom."

When delving into the issue of "wounds," I always remember a particular scene from the show "Band of Brothers" in which a wounded soldier insists he can't drive the Jeep because he's been shot. His Commanding Officer replies "Son, EVERYbody's been shot. Just drive the Jeep."

That's a very good analogy. Thanks.

We must always move on, we cannot stop and act like victims, because we are all in the same situation, and the world is not going to stop, so it is better that we continue forward.


Agreed. Because we all have been wounded in some way, what becomes most important is not dwelling on that we have been wounded, but what we can do to make the wounds heal.. to the point where they no longer interfere with our capacity to experience a good life.

Amazing write up and very much in line with the hivesomehope project, sure to reblog. As for help yourself before you help others I don't think it always applies and is dependent on the situation I feel like sometimes helping others can teach us to better help ourselves