Progress, not Perfection

 In Blog
Progress, not Perfection | Mary Shields Ph.D.

I’ve been following the path of the wounded healer for several years now, and it’s infusing my work with a depth and richness that I had never imagined. This quote gives the best explanation I’ve seen of the wounded healer path and work:

“Wounding and healing are not opposites. They’re part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others. It is our limitations that make us kind to the limitations of other people. It is our loneliness that helps us to find other people or to even know they’re alone with an illness. I think I have served people perfectly with parts of myself I used to be ashamed of”. 

~Rachel Naomi Remen

Like a lot of us, I was scared of my shadow side, even hiding it from myself. My old tapes didn’t allow me to be anything less than perfect. Of course, as a human being, I always was less than perfect, so my inner self-talk contained a lot of self-judgment for the places where I thought I didn’t “measure up.” One of my teachers introduced me to the saying, “Progress, not Perfection,” and I’ve been using that as a kind of mantra when my old perfectionism tries to kick in. How freeing it is to be released from holding myself to a standard I could never reach.

Likewise, allowing myself not only to see my shadow side, and also to accept and even embrace it, has been just as freeing. The journey of the wounded healer is toward integration and wholeness—of accepting and embracing all parts of oneself as part of the whole being. Ironically, it is often the shadow side that allows me to connect deeply with others, to meet them where they are. And it’s in that meeting where the true healing takes place.

My hope is that you can embrace all of who you are, knowing that even your limitations can be a place where you may find the deepest healing.

With love and gratitude,


PS:  If any of this resonates for you, I have a couple of client spots open for doing this work.  Please check out my individual sessions page, or contact me.  My Spiritual Transformation Group is another place where you can also often work with these kinds of issues, and I have another group starting in September!  Click here for more information.


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