Our Woundings Make Us Whole
By Z Zoccolante
We all interpret the world through the different lenses of our own experience. We each have different woundings, usually beginning in our childhood. From there, we spend our lives guarding and protecting these fragile parts of ourselves.
There are some wounds that are formed later on. For example, a situation where someone’s been cheated on or physically or sexually attacked, ingrains in us the truth of that isolated moment – Men, or women, are not trustworthy. The world is not a safe place. People will hurt us.
The sad thing about these situations is that they don’t represent the entire fabric of the world, just our little world at the one point in time. Yet the messages we interpret from these events (large or small) shape the way we live and move in the world, and within our every interaction with others.
Recently, at a friend’s birthday party, she said something remarkable. As she stood in her living room and made small speech thanking everyone for being there, she went around the room and stated one thing that she appreciated about each of us. She concluded by saying that even though there are many horrible things happening everyday in the world, she feels so fortunate that in her world she feels surrounded by the good and inspired by all of us.
It reminded me that the world can be a different place from “our world.” In our world, we get to choose how we interpret the messages of our life situations. For example, if someone doesn’t communicate with us or respond to us reaching out in a way that feels secure, we can often turn this around against ourselves. We may think that we aren’t worthy, that there’s something wrong with us, and we pick apart all our flaws and do laps in our insecurities.
The reality is that EVERYTHING that happens is only weighted by the meaning that we attach to it.
In conversation with a few friends, one of them drew us a diagram. On the piece of paper were concentric circles, like ripples on a lake spreading out across the page.
In the center circle was the word essence, where our true, wonderful essence is free.
Each circle outwards spread out like this:
- Lower Self
My friend broke down the diagram for us. In the center was our essence, our true free self.
Then a wound happens. My friend used the example of when they were eight years old and they were energetically open, like kids are, and so excited about asking their dad to play catch with them. The dad brushed them aside because he was working in the garage, and in that moment my friend decided that she hated her father.
Then the lower self seeps in. The lower self can look like, “I hate them. I want them to suffer/feel pain. They deserve it. Fuck them, etc.”
We have a bazillion defenses each specific to what makes us grasp for power again. Some people give the silent treatment. Some use humor. Some scream and yell. Some are passive aggressive.
Then over all this is the mask, where we pretend as though things are ok and we’re not deeply hurt by the fact that our wound is bleeding sadness, isolation, hurt, or pain, etc.
My friend says that when we’re in our lower selves, there can be joy in that, even if we’re feeling badly for giving someone the silent treatment or ripping them a new one because we felt attacked, outed, embarrassed, or shamed.
My friend says that when we’re our lower selves, we can think, “Yay. We’re closer to essence.”
The key to utilizing this diagram in our personal lives is to realize that nothing is happening to us. We are the ones interpreting the messages in a way that serves us or causes us to suffer.
In the simple example of someone not communicating with us, we might interpret through our life filters and feel rejected or ignored. We may feel as though we’re in a limbo place of unknowing, where we don’t know where to stand or feel ungrounded. Resentment may begin to develop. But these are nothing more than the meaning that we have assigned to it. None of it may be true when we step back.
The solution to our predicaments is to take a deep look at what our wound is in the situation we’re facing.
What is the wound? And how can we sit with that part of us and give it what it needs.
Even if we get our needs met from another, they’re only temporary fixes and then we’re left with our wound again. The only lasting solution is to be able to sit with those parts of ourselves, in honesty and love, and learn how to fill ourselves up from the inside out.
If we can do this, then we arrive already filled. Then anything that meets us is icing on the cake. Anything that meets us is pure pleasure.
Our wounding can be an opportunity to make us whole. The choice is ours.