How do you respond when life treats you unfairly? What do you do when you are hurt by someone you love and trust? How do you respond when things are done to you by powers beyond your control? We all have stories of pain and disappointment. The question is how do you allow your story (or stories) of pain and disappointment to affect and shape your life?
We all have been wounded. Last week I blogged on the topic, “From Stumbling Block to Stepping Stone.” We must face and deal with our wounds in order to be freed from the shame, embarrassment, and dysfunction of them. Only then is it possible to become wounded healers as we use our journey of healing to help others.
Today I want to focus on the process of facing our woundedness so we can experience the healing we need to become wounded healers.
Each of us is different in our emotional, mental and psychological make-up and those differences affect how we go about the healing process. Our wounds, even if similar, impact us in different ways.
Many years ago while in graduate school, I read the book The Wounded Healer, by Henri Nouwen. That book forever changed my life as I was learning to deal with the wounds of my life. I recently read a quote from that book, which reminded me once again of the importance of recognizing that we all have wounds that continue to shape our lives. Here is the quote:
Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.
The easily resolved challenges generally are those that arise from simple misunderstandings. Recently I discovered that someone assumed I was upset with them because someone had spoken to me about them. After they spoke with me of their perception, I had the opportunity to explain that it was a misunderstanding. They then were able to put it behind them and move on.
Not all relational challenges are so easily resolved, however. More difficult relationship challenges arise when someone – or sometimes more than one person – decides to make your role as leader difficult. They may make accusations that are wrong and hurtful with total disregard for how it is affecting you, the organization, colleagues and, in the case of a Christian organization, the name of Jesus Christ. How should you as leader handle such challenges?