Thanking our Wounds

34 of 45 Moments of Wonder

I feel wounded. Or I felt wounded. I am not sure how I feel. I reached out to the person I have had a conflict with and finally, after several months of trying to get some answers, I got one. An email stating that she won’t talk to me and asking me to cease and desist. At first I was very hurt. How can she get away with making such grand statements and then tell me I don’t have the right to know?

But then a doctor I work with helped me see that her inability or unwillingness to engage in a conversation with me is more about her than it is me.

This is likely true. And I am going to learn how to let it go.

In order to do that, though, I first have to acknowledge that I have been wounded. Back in January, I posted on Facebook and Twitter (maybe Instagram too but I can’t remember) that when I hurt my knee, I was instructed by the doctor that I needed to:

  1. Feel the pain
  2. Rest
  3. Move it – slowly at first so as not to aggravate the wound

The same is true for all our wounds. I have been trying not to feel wounded for so long, that I forgot to work through the steps. So today, and tomorrow, and the next day for as long as it takes, I am going to work through these steps to heal this wound and turn it into wisdom.

  1. Feel the Pain

We have to be willing to feel the pain and recognize that pain is a messenger. It tells us that there is something we need to pay attention to. When I have physical pain, like the post-surgery pain I have in my knee, I know that either I need to rest it or take some pain meds or maybe take a short walk. Whatever the pain, my body is using it as a message that I need to do something differently.

Likewise when I feel this emotional pain, I can either try to shut it down or I can pay attention to it and ask myself what it is trying to tell me. Maybe I need to unplug for a while. Maybe I need a good cry. Perhaps I need to phone a friend. Whatever we do, we need to thank the pain for giving us some insight into what we need.

2. Rest

After learning what our bodies are telling us, we need to rest. This is difficult for me because when I feel wounded, I tend not to sleep. But rest may also look like being gentle with yourself. It may mean that you say “no” to that extra project. Rest looks a lot like self-care. It may mean you drink a smoothie or an extra glass of water. It may mean ensuring you get enough sleep. It may mean waiting until tomorrow to conquer that project.

If I have not slept well, I find it hard to face the world in a productive and meaningful way.

Rest has always been difficult for me. I tend to be a person who wants to push through pain and just get things done. Unfortunately, doing that only makes things worse for Future Me. Taking care of myself and resting today means that Future Me doesn’t have to deal with the fallout of not resting or not caring for herself. So if you can’t rest for you, rest for Future You.

3. Move

After we have felt it and then rested, we can move a little. Not too much at first, but a little each day. For my physical wounds, that means walking every hour so it doesn’t get stiff. It means being aware of how certain movements cause pain and being careful when I move that way. Beginning to move means doing something to start healing.

For our emotional wounds, I think moving means looking inward and asking “what can I do that will make my wounded self feel better?” and doing that. It means looking at your life and questioning whether the life you are living is the life you want. It means helping others, doing something that feels like contributing. It means learning to be okay with not having the answers to your questions. It means recognizing that the wounds inflicted upon you by someone else says more about them than is does you.

Now, I say all of these things, not as an expert, but as a person who is feeling wounded and needing to work through it. Let’s face it, life is filled with wounds. We are human and human egos can easily be bruised. Our challenge is not to avoid the wounds. Rather, our challenge is to recognize the wounding and turn those wounds into wisdom.

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