Over the past few days I’ve been aware of things that I’ve done that have hurt others or at the very least prevented them from doing what they wanted to be able to do. My initial reaction has been one of guilt and sticking my head in the sand about the issues. It has got me thinking about my relationship with others. It was not and is not my intention to hurt others. Sometimes things don’t pan out the way we expect them to and this is difficult for all involved.
Yet I feel conflicted about my emotions around this. The more I think about it, the more I feel that on occasions we will hurt others. It seems to be an inevitable part of being in relationships / friendships etc with others. Rather than accepting this and looking to resolve the issues, I have tended towards a sentiment of guilt. These guilty feelings then lead me to avoid the situation. I have to say that some of those affected like to use my guilty feelings to empower themselves. In practice, interacting with others means that occasionally I will hurt them. I feel it is better for me to accept this as part of life and relationships, so that i can look at what has happened. If I seek to avoid hurting others at all costs, there only seems to be one way to do this. Isolate myself from others. This is what I’ve learnt to do. This leaves a small pool of people around me.
I’ve also looked at how I react when others hurt me. I’ve feel that I react in a way which is meant to make them feel guilty for what they’ve done. Some of the time it was beyond their control, sometimes they chose to behave in a hurtful way. Now I don’t want to leave myself open to repeated hurt from one person, as I feel that tends towards abuse. But can I find a middle way that allows me to say how I feel so that I can heal, whilst allowing them to react in a positive way. If I try to control them through guilt, it feels like I’m blocking my own healing of the situation.
The key features of our interactions with other when things do go wrong should be based around healing. So both parties need to be empowered for their own healing. So if I’ve hurt someone, I need to be able to recognise what has happened, learn how to avoid it happening again and let go. Letting go then allows our own internal healing. If someone has hurt me, I need to acknowledge that hurt, seek resolution as best able and then allow that relationship to heal, again letting go.
I do have one caveat to people hurting me, which is if it happens often / repeatedly. Sometimes over time repeated hurts in one relationship are a sign that the relationship is not empowering for us. For me that does mean the relationship has to be changed and if that is not possible, it should be ended. From personal experience, we may not be aware of this disempowering dynamic at the time. When we become aware it is a sign that we are become more empowered. As we become more empowered the events can then become part of a healing story.
I would also add for all healing around hurt that you may need to get support from others including professional support. Interactions with others on the issue should be empowering for all involved, which I find harder with if I know those involved. I enjoy a little bit of drama (yes i can be a drama queen!) but actually it tends to disempower all those involved.
This is a complex area which I’m not sure I’ve got right so do let me know your thoughts on healing hurt.