Why you need to turn your wounds into wisdom to grow


Kevin Mangelschots

Painful experiences and events are part of the course for everyone, no matter how rich or successful we are. Sooner or later, we all get our hardships to deal with.

You must turn your wounds into wisdom to prevent future pain, and biases, and to balance your life to maintain your mental sanity.

Let me explain why, and how to do this.

Why do you need to turn your wounds into wisdom?

  1. Healing your wounds prevents future pain

    You should heal your wounds because that prevents future pain.

    Either because unresolved issues have a tendency to pop up somewhere down the road at an increased intensity and frequency, or because they keep ruining your life since the issue isn’t resolved at all.

    That’s why you should make it a point to heal your troubles. You don’t want to drag all that baggage with you for your own sake, but also for your future relationships with others.

  2. It keeps you from being biased in the future

    You might become biased because you were wounded so badly that it prevented you from healing appropriately.

    That’s why people typically project their biases and prejudices on others because they’re still hurting by something that happened to them in the past.

    But that issue gets resolved when we create balance in our lives again. Of course, being harmed isn’t the only thing that can lead to biases. Phenomenons such as groupthink can still occur and cause us to become biased.

  3. To balance your life

    Life is about balance.

    Your wounds can create anxiety and uneasiness, especially when the suffering is prolonged.

    That can be because the issue is so severe. After all, we refuse to fix it, or perhaps because we don’t know how to cope in the right manner.

    Your life should be fairly balanced. Negative experiences are part of the course, but they should be equalized with their fair share of enjoyable moments. Otherwise, the only thing there is will be suffering.

  4. To maintain your sanity

    Being overly stressed because of emotional pain can cause us to lose our sanity by degrading our mental state. Particularly when that tension becomes chronic.

    A good rule of thumb is to try to fix the things that are under our voluntary control while trying to cope with the rest we can’t do anything about.

    Even better is trying to let the things we can’t change rest entirely. Because every amount of effort and energy that goes towards that cause is effectively wasted energy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to turn your wounds into wisdom

  1. Recognize your pain

    Image of a woman embracing herself in pain while sitting down.

    Before you can turn wounds into wisdom, you must first recognize that you are hurting.

    That’s typically not difficult, seeing as we tend to feel pain much more intensely than we do pleasure. In return, it’s only logical that a lot of our behavior is aimed at avoiding painful experiences rather than chasing joy.

    That means that we’re most likely going to be conscious of our pain when something agonizing happens to us.

  2. Admit to yourself that you’re in emotional pain

    Being able to admit to yourself that you’re suffering is probably much harder than recognizing when you’re going through a rough patch in your life.

    That’s because we like to think of ourselves as being better and stronger than we truly are. We’re prone to portraying ourselves as being superior as we are in reality, and our ego tries hard to protect that image that we have of ourselves.

    However, admitting that something’s wrong is required before we can make the necessary changes to come back stronger and fix the issue at hand. At the very least, it’ll help us to cope better with our difficulties.

  3. Accept your wounds

    Image of the quote, “acceptance is the road to all change.”

    Accepting your wounds is necessary before being able to move forward. Because you can’t heal and grow as a person if you’re unable to deal with the fact that you were wounded since this is a large part of admitting to yourself that you were harmed.

    But denying that it ever happened won’t make the pain go away, nor does it mean that it never took place. You can try to convince yourself by deceiving yourself. But in the end, the truth always wins.

  4. Try to remain objective by emotionally detaching yourself from the issue(s)

    Remain at a healthy distance from your concerns by practicing emotional detachment from the negative events going on in your existence.

    It’s essential to remain objective to deal with your difficulties rationally, and by being able to employ common sense. This is much harder to do when we’re personally involved.

    Yet, what we can learn is to look at the objective truth and evidence instead of making decisions based on our personal feelings.

  5. Let go of the past and look towards the present and future

    To grow and to emerge as a new, improved version of ourselves, we must learn to let go of the past.

    That’s easier said than done, especially when dealing with a grieving process if we went through a traumatic experience.

    We have to come to terms with the harsh fact that things might never be the same, no matter how hard we try to fix things.

    Yet, that doesn’t mean all is lost. What we lose in one particular area, we can make up by enriching our lives in another region. That’s because humans are plastic, and made to be capable of adapting to their ever-changing environment.

  6. View pain as a challenge to overcome

    We can view hardships as challenges to overcome, or as devastating problems.

    Seeing these events as challenges is a much healthier way of phrasing these difficulties, which will affect how we deal with these issues.

    Life is just a series of games we play. And we must learn to cope with our troubles to keep moving forward.

  7. Remain positive

    Image of a note lying on a wooden table saying, “positive mind, positive vibes, positive life”.

    Just because you’re going through a rough patch in your life doesn’t mean that things will never get better again, even though you might think it won’t improve at the moment.

    There are always positive experiences to be gained, even in events we deem to be negative. But, you must be willing to see them. And you can’t perceive them if you’re not willing to look for them, and are only looking at the negatives in your existence.

  8. Ask yourself positive questions

    Closely related to the previous point is asking yourself positive questions.

    Rephrasing negative questions and beliefs into more honest, realistic ones is a technique employed in cognitive behavior therapy. But it’s also effective to deal with pain positively.

    Don’t engage in doom thinking, and ask yourself positive questions that make you look forward to the future by keeping you hopeful that you can turn your life around.

  9. Keep moving forward, no matter how hard and small the steps might seem

    Image of the quote, “the past is the past. Don't let it hold you back. Move forward and don't look back” written in white letters on a blue background.

    It’s hard to keep moving forward when all the cards seem to be stacked against you. Yet, tough times reveal our true character, since we’re tested to the utmost limit.

    Things will get better again. However, don’t simply stay idle and expect things to get better by default. You have to put in the time and energy to change things for the better.

    Eventually, these difficult times will pass as well. And hopefully, we’ve dealt with our concerns so that we come out stronger on the other side.

  10. Remain calm

    You can’t make good, well-thought-out decisions if you’re overly anxious, or even worse, fearful.

    That’s because fear is a bad counselor, and so you should never make choices out of fear or impulsive desires.

    Take your time to think things through before making a decision. Very rarely do we need to make a choice instantly. It’s better to take some extra time to be extra thoughtful and to formulate the right plan.

  11. Stay hopeful

    Image of the word “hope” written on a rock.

    Hope is one of the essentials to take action because we need to believe that we can influence our lives. The other one is possessing enough concern so that we have an incentive to change things.

    Hope brings life, and that’s certainly true. I knew that I needed to remain hopeful in my darkest moments to stay sane and to believe that I had any chance at turning things around.

  12. Don’t care too much what other people think of you

    You’re not going to be able to live your life the way you want to if you’re constantly pondering and caring about what others are thinking of you.

    Let’s take a look at this rationally. It’s just impossible to please everyone, even if you wanted to. Some folks would dislike you for the simple fact that you’re trying to pleasure everyone instead of being yourself.

    You’ll never become happy if you don’t live life the way you want to. That’s why you should search for, and follow your unique path to become content, and successful at whatever you desire.

  13. Know that you’re not alone in your struggle

    Image of two people holding hands with the words “you're not alone” written above it.

    Another thing that can get you through many tough times is to know that you’re not alone in your struggle and that many people are going through the same thing.

    Will this solve your suffering? No. But it can help to ease some of your pain just by knowing that all of us are going through hard times ourselves.

    But hard times create tough men. If we continue going forward instead of breaking and quitting, that is.

  14. Take action

    All the talk in the world is useless without actually taking the action that’s needed to change things.

    Sure, you need to take the time to think things through and formulate an actual plan that can work. But we need to put it into practice to get a chance at improving things.

    It doesn’t have to be perfect from the get-go. If we do most things reasonably well, then that will more than likely lead to betterment.

  15. Analyze what went well, and what can still improve

    Illustration of analyzing under a magnifying glass.

    After taking action, you should analyze what things went according to plan, what can be improved on, or what needs to be changed or cut out entirely.

    Emotional pain isn’t something that’s easily fixed, nor is it something that we’re always in tune with. Analyzing things to improve them allows us to become more efficient, and to achieve better results.

  16. Embrace the new, transformed, and stronger you

    And finally, embrace the new, stronger you. You have put in the required effort and energy to reap the fruits of your hard labor if you applied the previous steps.

    You might have lost certain things along the way that you couldn’t fix. But people aren’t static individuals, and life is ever-changing.

    We should celebrate that we survived that hard period of our lives and that we decided to have the courage and perseverance to keep pushing forward instead of quitting.

    That’s true strength, and it isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Many people have lost their will to live and quit in the process of trying to fix their wounds. Especially when that pain felt too intense, and/or too many bad events happened at the same time, leading to disaster.

What does “turn your wounds into wisdom” mean?

The quote, “turn your wounds into wisdom” written on a black background. A quote by Oprah Winfrey.

The quote, “Turn your wounds into wisdom” is credited to Oprah Winfrey.

It means that we can use our painful and negative experiences to become wiser, so we can prevent making the same mistake twice.

That hurting can also make us stronger when we push through these challenges, and grow as a result of healing from our trauma.

This knowledge can also teach us how to prevent pain in the future, and how to cope with hurtful events better should they arise once more.

We can use this newfound experience to aid not only ourselves but others as well who are going through similar struggles. That’s because going through difficult times gives us an incentive to learn because a lot of our behavior is aimed at preventing pain, rather than simply chasing pleasure.


Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

Healing is a process, and that means that it’s an ongoing procedure instead of a single event.

Yet, healing your wounds and turning them into wisdom is absolutely vital to thrive in the future, and to prevent future pain. Your current weaknesses can become your greatest strength in the time to come if you decide to solve them!