The problem of self-hate has been the focus of my first three posts about recovering from this painful feeling. (You can find links to these posts at the end of this blog post.) This post is about healing Wounded Self.
In my last post, I examined how we recover from self-hate: by returning to Love, which allows us to connect with our Wise Self. As we work on returning to Love, we inevitably realize that we need to deal with our Wounded Self. This is the Self that develops from patterns of perfectionism and self-hate.
Step #4: I realized I could allow Love to heal my Wounded Self.
The dark, diseased, and wounded part of us is our Wounded Self. Everyone has this part. It develops when we feel cut off from or forget about Love and our Wise Self.
It is important to realize that many of our problems stem from an inability to feel love, to believe we are lovable, or to love ourselves.
This claim may seem very odd because we are surrounded by people in the world who seem to love themselves far too much. Such problems lead to selfishness and narcissism, and they cause a great deal of suffering in the world.
Because selfishness and narcissism are so destructive, we are sometimes afraid of loving ourselves.
It is important to realize that selfishness and narcissism are not forms of true self-love.
They are actually forms of self-hate. When we are selfish and narcissistic, we are acting from a place of insecurity and lack. Thus we feel the need to keep hogging all of the attention, recognition, and good things for ourselves. We do this in order to convince ourselves and other people that we are good enough.
When we are cut off from our Wise Self and Love, we feel confused, dark, and worthless. We also feel unworthy of love, alone, hopeless. This is what leads to many of our personal and social problems.
For instance, when we are cut off from our Wise Self, we feel empty. And so we often develop all sorts of addictions or other harmful habits in an attempt to fill the emptiness. Or we pursue such addictions to find some sort of joy or meaning.
When we are cut off from our Wise Self, we feel gross and worthless. And so we may also end up acting cruelly to others in an attempt to make ourselves feel less awful. Or we act cruelly to others in order to take our attention off of how much we hate ourselves.
Or as another example, we may feel so gross and worthless that we engage in self-harming behaviors or extreme self-loathing.
As a final example, when we feel cut off from our Wise Self, we feel like we will never be good enough or worthy of love. And so we feel like we must do more, more, more to prove we are worthy.
Most of us come face to face with our Wounded Self at some point or another.
And we may mistake our Wounded Self for our true self. This can make us feel like we are permanently broken, hopeless, or a disaster.
When we feel this way, it is important to remember that our Wounded Self is not our true self. Rather, it is the self that emerges when we get cut off from our Wise Self.
Realizing this can be extremely helpful, much like it can be helpful to realize that when we get sick, our physical sickness is not the permanent state of our body. Rather, it is a phase we go through because our natural state of health has suffered disruption and imbalance.
When we get physically ill, we know we can return to our natural state of health by rest, nourishment, and medicine.
In the same way, when we encounter our Wounded Self, it is important to remember that we can re-connect with our Wise Self. We do this through spiritual rest, nourishment, and medicine. The word spiritual in this context just refers to practices that nourish the love, wisdom, creativity, and compassion inside of us.
You can read about this spiritual rest, nourishment, and medicine here and here.
And you can also keep reading further in this series:
Step Five: Trusting Love
Or, you can start reading from the beginning of the series here:
You might also like these books about self-love:
If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing on social media.
 If you are a Christian or otherwise religious, you might think of this Love as a shining ray of God’s light, which is what you are. And if you are not religious, you can think of this Love as a ray of light of the highest human potential—our potential for goodness, wisdom, compassion, joy, and creativity.
Published by shellypruittjohnson
My name is Shelly Johnson, and I am a writer and philosopher with a Ph.D. in philosophy. One of my primary personal and philosophical interests is how we can learn to love ourselves and each other better in order to cultivate personal and political resilience. I teach ethics and a variety of other courses at a local college. I am the author of the blog Love is Stronger. I am also the author of three logic and critical thinking books for high school and middle school: _Argument Builder_, _Discovery of Deduction_ (co-author), and _Everyday Debate_, published by Classical Academic Press. You can reach me at email@example.com.
View all posts by shellypruittjohnson
18 thoughts on “Step Four: Healing the Wounded Self”
” When we come face to face with our darkness, it is easy to want to punish or beat ourselves up”
This is where I am stuck! I feel shame for my wounded part and shame for being ashamed! I don’t know where to draw the line with myself and others. I love your work I just have a problem with splitting my identity into wise and wounded. It amkes me feel like I am disowning the “diseased” parts of me. I also feel like it is a fix it attitude to heal my wounded self to be perfect and that keeps me stuc. Any advice?
Destini: Thank you so much for your honest questions and vulnerability. I am working on crafting a response and hope to reply soon.
Thank you so much! I love your thoughts and art. Thank you for existing
Hello again Shelly! I wanted to just ask if you had any ideas in regard to my question a while back. There isn’t a rush I just personally was worried that you had forgotten.
Destini: Thank you so much for writing back. I just finished one of the busiest times at work (finals and the end of the semester), and it interfered with me being able to figure out the best way to answer your question well. Thank you for hanging in there. Today I wrote a post with you in mind, and I am hoping that it might be helpful. You are going to notice that the first part of it deals with trusting ourselves, and so it doesn’t sound totally like it pertains to your question. The second part of it, however, is all about the Wounded Self and how we can heal from it. I have also included a bunch of links to other posts that pertain to healing the Wounded Self, although not all of the posts mention the Wounded Self directly. I hope this is helpful, but if it is not, please let me know more of the kind of think you are looking for, and I will do my best to write in answer to that question. I am certain that other people have the very same questions you do. Here is the post.
Destini: I wrote this intention/affirmation/prayer about when we get stuck in our Wounded Selves. I hope you find it helpful. I really appreciate all of your comments because they have helped me think of more blog posts I can write to help people, hopefully.