On a hot summer day many years ago, I was sitting at a gathering with several of my friends laughing and talking. During the conversation, one of my friends looked at me and said, “I don’t know how you do it. Healing people must be so hard; I couldn’t do it.” I just looked at her, smiled, and politely shrugged my shoulders.

There was an elder woman sitting across from me who looked at me plainly and remarked, “Well, you know you’re not special because everyone’s a healer.”

I remember trying not to make the facial expression of the thoughts that were happening in my head. Imagine a car going a hundred miles an hour coming to a full stop. Yep, that’s what happened in my head.

It wasn’t the words “you’re not special” that made my mind hit the brakes and cause a traffic jam of all other thoughts. I was taught that when you are on a healing road, humility becomes a large, very necessary portion of the road. It was her saying “everyone’s a healer” that caused the traffic jam in my mind. Because the woman was well known to be very opinionated and to challenge everyone she crossed paths with, I wasn’t sure what her intent was.

The thoughts that were racing through my mind were things like, “Is she kidding? Is she trying to test me? How could she possibly think something as ludicrous as that because there are some really bad people in the world? Maybe she leads a very sheltered life.”

Over the years, I have met and known some individuals whom I would consider to be “evil people”. People who hurt others on a whim, who lies and manipulates, who don’t care about the destruction they leave behind. People who enjoy the suffering of others.

So, I wondered how she could possibly think that these “evil people” are healers. All throughout the event I enjoyed myself but what she had said was on constant replay. When it ended, I drove home and continued to ponder this notion of destroyers being healers and it didn’t make sense.

So, as is with my life, sometime after, someone came into my personal life who wreaked emotional and mental havoc. Every time I would tell him that things were not working out and we had to go our separate ways, he would cry and apologize, manipulating my “compassion chip”. And so I stayed. During our time together, I listened to stories he would tell me of trauma he had caused to others, always told with vindication or pleasure. From this, I understood that he was not to be a part of my life.

The day came that the pain of his words and actions was too much, and so I ended the relationship. He retaliated by attacking me physically. Knowing that I didn’t want to live in the trauma of that relationship or miss out on something beautiful because I was looking at it with “devastation goggles”, what followed was a period of time working on the pain that was living within me.

Over the years that I have dedicated to helping other people heal, I developed a wonderfully useful technique called root digging. When it came time to heal myself, I applied this same technique to my trauma and did the work necessary to heal the wounds.

Through the work, I discovered that a certain area of my life was flawed; there were issues from my youth that I had not thought about and therefore had not worked through. Using my root-digging tool, I dedicated my time and energy to correct that particular modality, got rid of it, and moved forward into a healthier life space.

You see, the cruelty I experienced from this person was the action that it took to motivate me to fix something that was broken in me. It was something that I hadn’t looked at previously because when I was growing up, I was taught not to look at it. I’d never acknowledged this particular issue as a problem until the trauma that happened with this particular person brought it to light. A lot of my self-education and personal healing came through the entire situation.

Sometime after this healing process, I remembered the words “everyone’s a healer” that the elder woman at the gathering had said and it hit me like a thunderbolt in a severe rainstorm… she was correct. Everyone is a healer because even though that particular person came into my life and hurt me, the healing that I needed to go through afterwards was such a benefit to me. My healing and the understanding of how everyone is a healer has made me a better healer for others.

So, what kind of healer are you?

Are you the kind of healer that studies Western medicine and heals people through diagnosis and drugs? Are you a spiritual healer that works on a person’s spirit? Are you someone who believes food and nutrition are what heals the body? Are you a healer that gives someone a shoulder to cry on but also encourages thought about the problem and points someone in the right direction for their healing?

There are so many ways that you can be a healer. It takes mindfulness to be a healer without destruction and it also takes mindfulness to understand how you affect others.

I will say it again. Everyone’s a healer – you just need to figure out if you want to heal through destruction, understanding, love, tenderness, guidance, tough love, or other positive ways so that you can be a healthy part of healing yourself or a fellow human.