Working ethically means reflecting upon the biases, prejudices, myths and misconceptions that we have unconsciously, or consciously, subscribed to.
We need to engage critical thinking to ferret out any beliefs or constructs that can do harm. There are many, even ones we learned as energetic practitioners,or in circles of educated or “enlightened” people.
My two favourite harmful concepts:
You attract your experiences and emotions are the root of all illness.
Does a 4 year old child attract rape? Does an adult woman? Does a young boy attract starvation? Does a teenage girl attract sexual slavery or a debilitating accident? Does anyone attract the violent and horrible things that happen in this world?
To some degree, in some situations, our beliefs create our reality, sure. But we are also part of a bigger whole that we have no control over, and we are interacting with that whole in every moment. Keep in mind that a “universal law” is not a law at all unless it applies across the board to every possible situation in the world 100% of the time.
My emotions did not cause a harmful bacteria to enter into my body and damage my organs.
Emotions are the root of some things, yes. But certainly not all things. There are many physical conditions that have a physical root, and blanket statements like this leave no room for an individual person’s story or experience. They leave no room for us to discover or learn what this person’s unique story is, and therefore leave no room for healing. Quite the opposite.
These thoughts and beliefs encourage victim blaming and minimize the suffering that we experience as human beings. They are used to rationalize and justify the atrocities that people commit. Rationalizing is harmful in and of itself, since it places the responsibility on the victim, and not the perpetrator or the system that allows the perpetration to happen. And it therefore allows it to continue.
Both of these constructs do damage to vulnerable populations of people who are already suffering.
As practitioners, healers, counsellors, health professionals, and helpers of all kinds, we need to work hard at recognizing and dis-assembling these harmful beliefs, as we are in the positions of greatest effect. We’re the people that others come to for help. We have a responsibility to do better.
So let’s actually do that. Let’s help instead of harm.