“Why do I give to other people” is an important question to ask yourself if you find that you can’t help but help others—either as a professional healer or as someone who is often in the role of the nurturer in relationships.
I’ll be honest; until I started classes at the BPI, I didn’t even ask myself this question. I was just unconsciously and compulsively “helping” certain types of people that would come into my life (cute young Queers in distress was my particular poison). Eventually, I managed to burn myself out entirely and ended up angry and resentful towards a lot of people (myself included).
At the time, I had a lot of unresolved trauma around female-bodied people—I was trying to heal myself by helping others.
Mind you, none of these people ever asked me for anything—I fully and wholly cooked up these dysfunctional dynamics myself. I think I was looking for a sense of purpose and grounding. And in hindsight, I would say I was somewhat attracted to the drama these relationships would bring into my life.
I often say that the BPI sobered me up from my addiction to drama, and it’s true. An instructor called me out in no time for being a compulsive healer. “But I SHOULD help other people; I have so much love to give and so many resources!” Did I tho?! When I really took a look at this, I found that I was actually bringing my own unconscious wounds into the dynamic, and it kept me hooked on the validation I was getting. Are those generous and altruistic behaviors? No. I was being emotionally immature and codependent.
When I did the healing work I needed to do for myself and stepped down from my hero’s pedestal, I realized I had to be more conscious of who I was bringing into my life and for what reasons.
Learning how to heal me first and foremost has created a much healthier container for me to be an effective healer.
Are you taking inventory around why you help people and how you’re going about it? It may be time to examine some of the sobering questions I’ve had to answer for myself.
Are you trying to heal your own emotional wounds indirectly through helping others? A good clue is if you have a bunch of people in your life that you feel like you “should” be supporting. Do you feel an intense “need” to be of service to these people? Do these relationships make you feel drained and resentful? I remember a particularly revealing conversation with myself when I started asking who, of all the people in my life, am I actually having fun with? I didn’t love the answer.
Are you trying to fix or save people? Do you see the people you’re going out of your way to show up for as helpless? Do you easily feel sorry for people? If you get honest with yourself, do you really respect these people? This is not healing btw; it’s being in judgment of someone and viewing them as broken—then getting a big ol’ dose of validation when you “help” them. Please don’t repeat this……but I used to feel this way about introverts. I would literally seek them out at a party so they wouldn’t be so “helpless and alone.” I hope you’re laughing right now—because you should be. #sorryquietpeople
Do you love drama?! I do! Which makes sense—drama is defined as an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or circumstances. No wonder so many of us love it! The trick is to find the right kind of drama. Now that I’m more aware of my brain’s desire for an adventure, I intentionally give myself doses of drama in healthy ways by reading juicy novels, creating outrageous art, kickboxing, traveling, watching a movie, listening to podcasts …anything. Literally, ANYTHING is better than letting my brain get bored and restless.
Do you want to matter and be significant? This is the big one. We all want this—humans are altruistic by nature, and we crave a sense of purpose. I want to matter and do my part to bring more healing into the world, but I also want my healing work to be intentional and clean and not leave any party feeling used or drained.
I’m now choosing to do the best I can to be a healer in its truest sense—meticulously conscious of why I heal, who I heal, and how I heal.
Coming soon—Part Two: How to be a healthy healer.
Blog post written by Three Brodsky, a student and staff member at The Boulder Psychic Institute.