Healing the Healers

A school counselor, Julie had felt utterly powerless in her role since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Overwhelmed by the magnitude of the trauma she, her school and the entire community of Newtown, CT had survived that day, Julie felt hopeless, unable to fix the school and community she cared so much about.

As months went by, the emotional strain she was experiencing grew increasingly acute. Eventually, Julie had to be rushed to the hospital, where she was promptly diagnosed with a serious heart condition.

Struggling to recover from the trauma physically, mentally and emotionally, Julie began tapping sessions with The Tapping Solution Foundation. In spite of the severity of her diagnosis, she hadn’t been following her doctor’s advice for self-care, and it wasn’t until she began tapping that she was able to understand why.

As with many survivors that day, Julie’s traumatic experience during the shootings had awoken unresolved pain from childhood. Having grown up with a brother who was addicted to drugs, as early as 11 years old, Julie had learned two painful lessons: 1) that she couldn’t count on anyone, including adults, to help or care for her; and 2) that by trying to fix the people and circumstances around her, she could control them.

Since the shootings at Sandy Hook, however, neither of these lessons had served her. The frightened 11-year old girl inside her was screaming out for help, but had no one to rely on. As time passed, she had felt increasingly frozen, unable to move her life forward, and too traumatized to care for herself or others.

After her second serious heart incident led to another emergency hospital visit, Julie realized while tapping that her childhood experiences had taught her to stuff down her emotions. Her body was now buckling under the pressure of the emotions she’d been repressing since childhood.

During a series of four or five tapping sessions, Julie was able to see how much energy she’d put into resisting her own emotions. It was a huge Aha! moment when she realized that her heart was literally breaking open, crying out for a chance to express what she was feeling. Using tapping, Julie realized that she could let herself feel her emotions as a way of taking control over her health and wellness in a healthier way.

As healers, we sometimes forgo the opportunity to tend to our own emotional and mental well-being in order to be of greater service to others. There can also be a subtle pressure for healers to be, or at least appear, like we’ve evolved beyond everyday emotional challenges. The thinking goes, if I struggle or feel in any way overwhelmed by my own issues, how can I possibly heal others? Without realizing it, we may use these limiting beliefs about needing to be “perfect” to rob ourselves of the chance to process and release the challenging events and emotions we inevitably experience.

Ironically, these beliefs around needing to be “perfect” to be true healers then prevent us from reaching our true potential as healers. In reality it’s only when we allow ourselves the chance to heal our own wounds, as Julie did, that we can become the evolved healers we aspire to being. In other words, it’s because of our challenges and imperfections, not in spite of them, that our healing work has such an impact.

Are you, or a loved one, a healer who feels the need to be a “perfect” in order to heal others? Notice any beliefs and emotions that come up when you think about taking time to accept your imperfections and tend to your own emotional and mental well-being. How intense do those beliefs and emotions feel on a scale of 0 – 10? Give them a number.

Now take three deep breaths. We’ll begin by tapping three times on the Karate Chop point:

KC: Even though I feel the need to maintain perfect emotional and mental well-being in order to be a true healer, I deeply and complete love and accept myself.

KC: Even though I feel pressured to be perfect in order to heal others, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

KC: Even though I feel the need to be perfect in order to be a true healer, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

Eyebrow: I have to be perfect
Side of Eye: How can I be a healer if I’m struggling?
Under Eye: I can’t heal others if I’m not healed myself
Under Nose: All this pressure to be perfect
Under Mouth: It’s so overwhelming
Collarbone: But I have to be perfect to heal others
Under Arm: All this pressure to be perfect
Top of Head: It’s suffocating me

Eyebrow: I hate this pressure
Side of Eye: But I don’t see how I can get rid of it
Under Eye: I can’t see how to be a true healer unless I’m perfect
Under Nose: But I don’t feel perfect
Under Mouth: How can I heal others when I’m not perfect?
Collarbone: So much pressure to be perfect in order to heal others
Under Arm: I feel so overwhelmed by it
Top of Head: This pressure isn’t helping me

Eyebrow: It’s just making me feel inadequate
Side of Eye: I hate this pressure
Under Eye: Maybe I don’t need to be perfect
Under Nose: Maybe not being perfect makes me a better healer
Under Mouth: It fosters empathy and understanding
Collarbone: I don’t need to be perfect to be a true healer
Under Arm: Not being perfect makes me an even better healer
Top of Head: Releasing this need to be perfect now

Take a deep breath, and check back in with your feeling that you need to be perfect to be a true healer. How true does that belief feel now on a scale of 0 – 10? Continue tapping, if you like.