As a divorced man in my sixth decade of life on this planet I encounter many people, both men and women, who have been “hurt by others”. Perhaps it was a cheating spouse, a painful divorce or a betrayal by a close friend. The conventional wisdom is that we have been hurt by the offending party. And this hurt is not limited to major life events because it also happens in our everyday lives. We, as men, can be hurt by being passed over for a promotion at work, being left out of plans to go the game by our buddies or being cheated on by a spouse or girlfriend. As guys we may seek solace in drinking with our coworkers or buddies, throwing ourselves even deeper into our work, getting immersed in playing and watching sports nights and weekends or doing any number of things to distract ourselves.
When it comes to love and relationships men and women both feel hurt and carry that hurt around damaging our prospects of finding the love we say we want. Many of us are hurt so deeply that we put up walls in order to keep the hurt out. The problem with these walls is that they keep love out. They cannot keep hurt out and even if they could it would not matter because hurt is an inside job. Long before the first brick of that wall is laid and the mortar is troweled the hurt is already safely inside the wall. It is there because we put it there. In fact, we created the hurt ourselves. Hurt is our reaction to an event in our lives that turns out in a way contrary to what we think we wanted at the time. In love, if the person we desired to be our partner does not share those same feelings and chooses themselves or another over us we may automatically assume that their choice is because of something we did or did not do, or are or are not or something that we lack. And if we can find the supposed chink in our otherwise impenetrable armor, or so we like to think, that led the other person to make their decision to choose whatever they choose we can condemn ourselves for our own lack of something. The hurt we feel is the full weight our own self-condemnation for not being chosen. The truth is that we have committed a selfish act of thought by believing that the decisions of others are intended to cause us pain. And while such decisions of others are the first step in the process of moving us to the point of feeling hurt, those decisions are rarely made with the goal of hurting us.
Even when people do terrible things to us our emotional hurt is still a choice. That is not to say that what the person did is right. In some cases, we must forgive them and let go of them. We can still love their soul but our own boundaries must come into play. (The power of our own vibration explains this but we can discuss that at another time.)
So how do we move past the hurt?
1. Recognize that each of us is on our own personal journey through this life and we are free to make decisions for ourselves. When someone chooses for themselves that does not automatically mean that they are choosing against us. We each see the world through our own eyes. Just think. At present on this earth there are over 6 billion unique perspectives on life.
2. Understand that we all operate on what we know or at least think we know. And if others have chosen to interpret the actions and choices of others as hurtful they may be coming from a place of self-hurt themselves. And it will impact how they process their lives and may affect how they deal with others, including us. If they seem to be lashing out we do not need to take it personally. There is a balance between viewing others as unlimited and understanding the difficult circumstances of their lives.
3. Choose yourself. In the end you can only live your life, not anyone else’s. Expect that they will choose for themselves and do not be disappointed that they did not choose you. You will do your part for yourself and for your fellow travelers by being reliable in choosing yourself. By the way, choosing yourself does not mean not caring about or helping others. In fact, it is just the opposite. The only way you can really help others is to choose yourself because what others really need from you is your wholeness. When they sense that is present they are ready for your help and caring.
4. Love and accept yourself. You are gloriously and perfectly imperfect. And that is exactly how your creator made you. And now that you have chosen yourself you can choose to love and accept yourself. Forgive yourself for not being perfect and commit yourself to personal improvement for you because you are worth it and not for any other reason. In Dr. Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, she discusses the importance of simply recognizing that we, in and of ourselves, are enough for anything that comes our way. If we are enough and really believe it, then we won’t worry about why someone chose themselves and did not choose us. And we won’t look for a list of our own shortcomings to badger ourselves about. We will simply know we are enough and move forward in confidence.
5. Learn to love others without being attached to outcomes. If we love only with the expectation to be loved in return that is not real love. It is just fishing or trolling. Real love recognizes the value of others as people and reaches out with the offer of soul connection. There is no other agenda. The book, The Four Agreements, has a lot to say about not being attached to outcomes. And by the way, this attachment to outcomes is one of the worst things we can do. It is the first phase of the hurt cycle and sets us up to hurt ourselves constantly. If we truly love ourselves we will have everything we need in our lives in the way of love and won’t need to find it elsewhere.
6. Understand the law of attraction which essentially says that we attract those people and things in to our lives that we most believe we are worthy of receiving. We can desire our wildest dreams but if we do not believe we are worthy those wildest dreams will remain just dreams.
When it comes to love, Rumi said it best:
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself you have built against it.”-Rumi, a 13th Century Sufi mystic and poet
Your comments are always welcome as we are all teachers and students at the same time.
My best to you all,
Lynn Everard, Fellow Traveler and Guide
Please note: The author is not a licensed medical or psychological professional and the contents of this blog and its posts are not to be taken as professional advice. The reader assumes all responsibility for using the contents for his or her own edification.