As a very-soon-to-be graduate with an M.A. in Clinical-Counseling Psychology, I am often thinking about how to better myself in order to be the most effective counselor I possibly can. Last night, after a difficult meeting at my church, I realized that I have some unresolved emotional issues that I’ve swept under the carpet for years and which I am now ready to consider working on with a professional counselor. That was a big realization for me. It reminded me of the phrase, “Physician, heal thyself” and the idea that many who enter into the “helping professions” (counseling, teaching, social work, nursing, medicine, religious ministry, etc.) want to heal others but cannot make the time to heal their own hurts. In fact, I think many of us hope that the process of healing others will heal us. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it just gets in the way of us being effective helpers and harms us, as well.
Those of us who “lick our wounds” so-to-speak by overeating, bingeing, or restricting, do ourselves a disservice. Emotional and spiritual healing does not often come in the form of physical food. It comes through reflection, through wading through the thoughts and feelings that are in our heads, getting them out on paper (you know how much I love journaling) or voicing them to a professional, and listening to the feedback that we get from either that still, small voice inside of us or from the professional him- or herself.
Are there events from your past that keep coming back to you and causing pain? Are you responding to that pain with food or self-loathing? Consider the freedom you could gain from sharing that burden with a neutral third party. Remind yourself that you are a “work in progress”. Be gentle with yourself today as you consider other ways to heal your hurts.
Peace, joy, and health!