You First: Why Helping Others Starts With Helping Yourself
Healer, Heal Thyself
A couple of years ago, I was speaking with a friend about my desire to learn Reiki and various healing modalities so that I could help others. I was young and naive, and I had the audacity to say, "Perhaps someday, I could help you heal." This was audacious because a) I was implying that he needed healing before I asked his permission to read him, or gained his confirmation that he wanted healing, and b) I didn't know the first thing about healing anyone, especially myself. When I made the remark, I had good intentions and was trying to come from a place of love, but now with my deeper understanding, I can see where my thinking was flawed. My friend's response to me was, aptly, "Healer, heal thyself."
Although we all have our core wounding and day-to-day problems, not everyone wants to be picked out to be "fixed," and it is not up to you to fix another person anyway. You can be a conduit of healing energy for them. This ability to serve as a conduit is extremely valuable and not to be overlooked! I have seen psychics, mediums, and Reiki masters do amazing things for all kinds of people. They were simply being the messengers—they were moving out of the way so that spirit could give the nurturing or confirmation that someone needed at the time.
Healing is a bit like cleaning your house. You can dust, sweep the floors, and mop, but this does not mean the house will not get dirty again. You will have to clean it on a regular basis. Therefore, it is impossible to be "completely healed" before you attempt to help someone else, but there is a certain place you must get to before you are ready to serve as a conduit of healing for another person. This article will describe the prerequisites in depth so that you have a better idea of how you can go forward in service.
Know Thy Boundaries
Being in Your Space
If you have a desire to serve others, chances are you've heard about boundaries plenty of times now. You have likely struggled with them. When you care about people, it's hard to say no. Whether it's an invitation to a party or a favor someone is asking, it is difficult to turn others down. However, it is necessary if you are to conserve your energy in order to be most effective. I have seen friends and family members attempt to accept every invitation and do all that others asked of them, but in the end, they suffered. It is easy to lose touch with oneself when we are busy tending to others' needs when we don't have the quiet time to sit and consider what we want.
It is important to have quiet time, however much you can manage, each day. I have found unplugging from technology (as much as I love it) very helpful. Think about it—do you know many people who take longer than a couple of minutes to answer a text message? My coworkers answer their phone instantaneously and are quick to answer questions that I would normally take my time to consider. I take time to consider because I have been a people pleaser in the past, and when pressed for an immediate answer, I tend to obligate myself to things that I do not want. Part of having healthy boundaries is taking your time, and responding when you feel good and ready.
The best version of you that can serve most effectively is the you that has a full cup. You cannot have a full cup when you are available at the press of a button, always saying yes. Sometimes a "no" to another person is a "yes" to yourself. Some may think of this as selfishness, but if they do, they are likely at a low energy themselves from trying to be everything for everyone else. If anyone is judging you for anything, it's because they carry some unhappiness or wounding around the thing they are judging.
Physical Space Is Important, Too
Is Your Space a Nice Place?
This is why healing starts with you. You won't want to be in your own space physically or in your own head if it is not a nice place to be. When all is quiet, do you have thoughts that make you feel excited for the future, or anxious and afraid? We can use others as distractions from the darkness inside of us and the things we don't want to face, but that will never result in powerful or effective healing.
Understand Your Desires and Be "Selfish"
All human beings, at one point or another, have trouble understanding what would make them happy. Many of us have not been raised to do what makes us happy, and we were taught that "selfishness" is a negative trait. Even now, people are looking down on self-care when some are citing it as a reason not to watch the news. However, it is much easier to think of solutions when we are not depleted by a steady stream of all that is wrong in the world. It is more difficult to consider what is wanted when we are bombarded by what is not wanted! Many people will spend an entire morning thinking about the person who cut them off in traffic, but not the coworker who complimented their hairstyle. They will think about the grumpy person who bumped into them in the coffee shop rather than the barista who made pleasant conversation.
It is actually a great sign that more people are attempting to distance themselves from the negativity. Now, distancing does not have to be the same thing as burying one's head in the sand and ignoring everything, never contributing to the world. Everyone has something to give, some way to help others around them achieve states of love and inner peace, and the money or time to donate to important causes, but we cannot understand this until we go inside. We need to understand our core wounding and begin to do the work on ourselves first. Yes, this takes time and a degree of selfishness to do. It is true that some people simply distance and give up completely, but this is because they don't understand how to handle the pain—not theirs, not anyone else's.
I Am You, You Are Me
Experience Is Key
Many who are drawn to healing work are empaths and do not have much trouble tapping into the emotions of other people. Actually, for empaths, it can be the opposite problem—we can have trouble tuning everyone out sometimes! We feel people without even trying, and that can get overwhelming, especially at times when the energy is chaotic. However, to be able to truly feel someone else and understand their experience, we have to have experienced their core emotion ourselves at some point. It is important to have a range of experiences and ways you have self-soothed and healed afterward; the more experience you have, the more types of people and energies you will be able to work with.
It is the same way for those who deliver channeled information. The more books they have read and experiences they can draw from, the more material they have for their guide to use to relay concepts, especially ones that are more difficult for human beings to grasp. As healers, it is better if we have first experienced the whole spectrum of human emotions for ourselves and learned how to deal with them on our own in several different ways. Then, we have more to offer future clients.
Go out and taste the world. Heal thyself. Remember that healing does not always have to be a serious journey. Spirit wants to play, and there is a part of you that does, too. Perhaps you have long forgotten what it feels like to enjoy yourself, and this needs to be healed in many people as well. That is why approaching it from a, "I must save the world" standpoint does not work. Energies like martyrdom are becoming too dense and difficult to maintain in the new earth, so it is important to enjoy the spiritual work that you are doing. There are many ways to heal, so if sitting in a silent room and meditating or directing energy to parts of the body sounds absolutely boring to you, you'll want to explore other things.
Looking for More?
In this article, I have covered why healing is important. I will soon write other articles on how to go about this healing process. If you are an empath and looking for advice on maintaining healthy energetic and emotional boundaries with loved ones, please check the links below, as I have written some articles specifically for empaths that can help on these topics.
Resources for Empaths
- Feeling All the Things: Coping With Empathy and Social Anxiety
Tips, tools, and insights for those who identify as empaths, especially if empathy is contributing to their social anxiety.
- Cultivating Healthy Relationships as an Empath
Written for those with empathic tendencies - guidance on when to hold on, when to let go, and how to loosen your grip so that love can flourish.
© 2017 Holley Hyler