Turn Wounds Into Wisdom

Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Oprah Winfrey

Whether we are aware of it or not, many of us carry deep wounds dating back to our childhood. Invariably, we all experienced disappointment or profound pain and as youngsters. Because we were unable to process the pain, deep wounds were formed and remain our psyche. Some of us may have experienced tragic loss or been subject to constant ridicule or abuse. Whatever our stories, the wounds remain quietly below the surface until someone or something tears them open, causing us to react or feel completely overwhelmed by fear. And indeed, even though we may not be aware of the wound’s existence, abject fear is one of the signs that our wounds might be driving our reactions. When faced with an insult, a new loss or even going through a life change such as divorce – the fear or feeling of being out of control can open up old wounds that cause to act like someone we may not recognize (picture screaming banshee if that is your thing). The good news, though, is that opportunities like this are there to teach us about our wounds. When we really look at the underlying pain, we have the chance to truly heal and turn our wounds into wisdom. For example, we may notice that when someone raises his or her voice at us that we either instinctively shut down or want to defend ourselves. If we explore our reaction, we might discover that our inability to cope with that situation really stems from a childhood wound – maybe our mom constantly yelled at us or we had a teacher once raise their voice at us in class. Whatever the source of our wound, when we recognize that our reaction comes from a childlike place within ourselves, we can step back. Instead of reacting from our wound, we can begin to have compassion for our fears and instead make choices from that place of trust, wisdom and safety.

Weekly Path to Peace: Turn your wounds into wisdom.

  • Can you recall any time in your past where you couldn’t control your reactions? Whether you find yourself frozen and unable to speak or conversely, scream out of control at the top of your lungs, this might be a clue that you are in your wound. Uncover the place where your wound might be driving your reactions and write down one or two of those experiences.
  • Now, turn the wounds into wisdom. When did you form this wound? What is driving your reaction? If it is a fear, ask yourself what you are really afraid of? And then determine what it might look like to respond without the fear – acknowledging and recognizing its existence – but responding instead from a place of trust and safety.