Where there’s a wound there’s a blessing.
Emotional wounds can be viewed as gifts in so far as they can point the way directly to what is most meaningful to each individual. Often wounds that hurt us most cause pain precisely because they target that which is most precious to us. The attack fits the wound just perfectly.
A father may tell his children that they should go into business; but not into art, music, gardening, etc., since those, he claims, are worthless pursuits. His advice may be guided by his own experience in a different era and be well-intended with a desire to protect his children. Little does he realize that one of his children will always feel a pang of hurt in remembering the moment he said, “Your head is in the clouds. Art is a waste of time.” She may feel deeply wounded that he has discredited her cherished pursuit of art.
Yet another child may not even remember such statements. Instead, a completely different statement is etched into his mind. Perhaps, “You’re too sensitive,” or “Why are you reading books; get out there and play ball!” is what wounded him.
Psychologist Michael Meade recommends that we inquire into our deepest emotional wound to find its blessing. The statement “Your head is in the clouds” might be painful to a child precisely because her calling and greatest gift are her imagination and creativity, the very foundation of being an artist. Similarly when the parent judges sensitivity to be a defect, the child may feel troubled because that very sensitivity may be what inspires the child’s greatest gift.
Unfortunately, many people think that their emotional wounds are something to be “cured” or removed. Yet, often we can unearth our life path by investigating the image and meaning of early wounding statements and actions. Through a deep understanding of the wound, not the person who wounded us, we can find our own soul-appropriate archetype, that is, the realm of activity that touches our soul. We can awaken the pain of our deferred dream, and thus find our path, our daemon.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD