Easy. Just get hurt.
Everyone has heard that adage, “hurt people, hurt people.” It made sense in theory but I didn’t really get it till one day, I found myself lashing out in defensiveness toward people I love. Why am I acting like this? Every comment, suggestion, and let’s not even talk about constructive criticism – it all felt like an attack against my identity, my personality and my character. I was like a soldier, armed and ready. I had to stand up for myself and prove them wrong no matter the cost. The recipients of my reactions were confused and hurt. “Girl, I didn’t mean it like that. You know that I love you.” I did know, but in the moment of their first comment, all I could think of was how their words lined up with the negativity others in my past had spewed and I couldn’t help but connect it all. It’s all your fault. “No! Lemme tell you…” It became hard to separate the past and present and I simply had nothing left but a quiver of hurtful words.
I had to take some time to think about this because I could still recall the days of shielding myself from hurtful defensive entitled arrows. Arrows of ‘I REFUSE to let you define me,’ AND ‘yes, you’re dear to me but I absolutely will crush your spirit before I allow mine to be crushed any further,” OR ‘I get what you’re saying but you don’t get what I’ve been through so I have a right to do what I want and ignore what hurts you.’ How did I now become that person?
It’s a wicked cycle. You see, the people who crushed me with their hurtful actions were once crushed. They too had optimistic dreams about life and their future till someone who had been let down, brought them down. What we’re really saying with our actions is, “If I’m not up, you can’t stay up.” So we bring someone else down with our internalized entitlement, envy, and negativity – often, the closest ones to us. After all, haven’t we been dealt a bad hand at life compared to them? And on and on and on it goes.
Now, I’m afraid that I’ve drawn you into this story without a definite answer. How do we stop the cycle? How do I not hurt those I love even while I hurt, show unconditional love even though I struggle to recieve it? There must be a way to heal and hug it out, right? To be honest, I don’t have concrete answers to these questions, and I didn’t take time to Google either. BUT, one thing did come to me.
We are all human, frail and weak. I relate to you as a human, as someone with dreams, as someone who loves people, as someone who is flawed, as someone who was also let down in some way in life. From that place, I can support. If I look at you as less-than, a foe, or a competitor, I stand alert and dry-eyed, waiting to attack you back (or first). But if I see you as someone who is in as equal a need for God as I am, as equal a need for love and acceptance as me, then I can use those as threads of relativity so that we both can get help. Perhaps…if we didn’t always try to differentiate ourselves from each other and trusted our similarities, we could put down the hurt and start building.
Share: In what ways do you fight against hurting those you love when you are hurt? Or is this something you struggle with?