If you’ve learned to let go and forgive others, you probably aren’t actively wounding others but if you’re like most people, you have wounds that are still painful. If you have the courage, it’s time to take a look at your past and work on releasing that pain. It’s toxic to you and other people. If you’ve never done any “emotional” work, this sounds like garbage but if you are essentially unhappy and want to feel better, you have to look at past situations, words… anything in your life that’s hurt you. You don’t have to hurt others.

What’s a Spiritual Wound?

I consider a spiritual wound something painful, perhaps shameful (or both) that you’ve experienced that created a negative emotional response in you. That means it was something that affected you enough to make you sad or mad. Do you have something like that in your past? You aren’t alone. It may have been the death of a loved one, physical or sexual abuse or something hurtful someone said to you when you were a kid. Maybe someone told you that you were no good… that you were stupid… that you were fat…or that you’d never amount to much.

If you remember feeling bad or ashamed and felt those feeling again when you thought about it just now, you still have pain associated with it. It probably shaped who you are today and why you have an intolerance for certain kinds of personalities or behaviors. Once you sustain a wound like this, the typical response is to build layers of protection so you don’t get hurt again. If we do this from childhood into adulthood, we end up with a complex system of defense mechanisms that we use to keep ourselves safe. Those defenses could consist of thoughts e.g. “I’ll never let anyone call me stupid again. I’ll learn everything I can about everything…” and behaviors.

The very same defense mechanisms we use to keep our emotional selves safe keep others out.

If you remember someone calling you fat when you were in junior high, and someone says it to you as an adult, you’ll remember how it felt then and feel the same pain even though decades have passed. It doesn’t matter that you’re 40 now – in that moment, you are 14 again. You could be healthy and in the best shape of your life, but you’ll hold onto the pain of that wound and it will make you want to protect yourself (or fight somebody). If it only causes mild discomfort to think about it, you’ve probably realized that there is no power in the incident or experience, only the feelings you’ve held on to. Some of us walk around with so many wounds, it’s amazing we’re still standing. The problem with holding onto pain like this is that it keeps you in defense mode. No one gets in… but you can’t get out either. People want to love you but you can’t love them back from behind a bunch of reinforced steel walls. Unless one of you has a blow torch. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Victim No More

I want to point out that much of what we hold onto are things we didn’t invite into our lives. It may have been a cycle of abuse where an abused person became an abuser or the sudden death of a loved one. These are deep wounds where more often than not, we had no control over the situation. I’m here to tell you that while you may have been a victim, you don’t have to stay that way. If you made it through, you are now a survivor. Whether it was a physical or emotional attack, there will be scars but if you can confront what you feel, you can work through the painful parts. If it’s too much, don’t be afraid to Show Up for yourself and look into getting professional help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking assistance to get your mind right. We have to stop alienating people with mental health issues.

I challenge you to examine your own life to determine for yourself if you are part of the walking wounded. If you are, do you have the courage to show up and DO something about it? I hope so. The world needs more love and you have a contribution to make.