Too many times, I’ve seen “spiritual” practitioners tell people “You can’t help others until you’re fully healed.” Which, unfortunately, results in some people giving up on ever being able to help others.

There are some things from which “fully healed” just plain doesn’t happen, and there are some things from which healing takes a very long time. People who live with chronic illness, whether physical or mental, may never “heal” from it. People who have experienced trauma and live with its effects can learn to manage those effects, but the trauma–and some or even all of the effects–don’t go away.

When someone lives with chronic illness and/or trauma, being told “you have to be fully healed before you help others” is incredibly discouraging. And incredibly wrong. You definitely need to be working on your healing journey. Learning to manage an illness. Identifying the thoughts PTSD creates and learning to counter them. Working within yourself to learn and grow. In order to help others on their journeys, you have to have made some progress on your own. But “fully healed”? Not necessary.

There are likely to be people who are further on their healing journeys than you are on yours; you may not be able to help them. But there are others who are where you used to be. Those are the ones you can help by shining a light on the path you’ve already walked so they can walk it as part of their journey. As long as you are mindful and aware of where you are in your healing journey, and as long as you continue to work, there is no reason you can’t help others. No matter what anyone else says.