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  • Writer's pictureBrighter Pathways

Healing is a Privilege; Not Everyone Needs to, or Can, “Do The Work”

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Let’s be real here. Healing is a massive privilege. It requires effort, time, energy, and often money. Most people are juggling multiple jobs, raising children, and/or simply trying their best to merely exist in a world (especially in the West) that normalises individualism, greed, inequality, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, hoarding, lack, and infinite growth on finite resources (both personal and planetary). And although we can acknowledge the global average is on the whole healthier, more democratic, less violent, and more educated than it’s ever been [1], this can create a false confidence. For we are also lonely [2], depressed [3], anxious [4], medicated [5], and addicted [6]. It is not unreasonable to assume that this could be a response to an overwhelming environment, aside from any personal traumas we face. Indeed, our nervous systems are millions of years old and haven’t evolved much in a very long time, whereas the environments in which we live have developed extraordinarily rapidly, and our technologies exponentially. It’s perhaps no surprise that many of us are struggling, and are trying our best to simply survive. Such people simply have zero extra capacity to dive into their deepest, darkest wounds.

Of course, we can have compassion for the parts of us that want others to heal. Especially family members. We can often see the damage they cause, and want them to “wake the hell up”. Trust me, I’ve been there. But ultimately people will only ever heal if and when they are ready to. Which might not be ever; they may not have capacity to face reality. Therefore, we need to learn to offer our parts their unmet needs from within ourselves (IFS therapy helps with this). And, quite often, we need to grieve the parts of us that didn’t get these needs met.

Sending love to everyone courageous and resourced enough to face their shadows. Sending an equal amount of love and compassion to those who aren’t.

And if you are in a privileged position to heal, consider paying it forward in service of those who aren’t.

The value of service is timeless wisdom. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Albert Einstein said: "A life lived for others, is the only life worth living". Other prominent people who’ve said similar things include Sophocles: “If we always helped one another, no one would need luck”; Charles Dickens: “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another”; Maya Angelou: “When you learn, teach. When you get, give”; and Claire Nuer (Holocaust and terminal cancer survivor): “The only way to create love, safety, and acceptance is by giving them”.

Some pretty good company right there. Further, unknown to some, Abraham Maslow, the psychologist best known for creating a hierarchy of needs, didn’t in fact place self-actualisation at the apex of needs, rather self-transcendence (he updated this later in life). For Maslow, self-transcendence refers to a person’s spirituality - their relation to the universe and others - where one is concerned with the act of helping individuals to self-actualise in order to benefit the whole. We’re all connected.

Share if you agree ❤️

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