We’ve all been hurt, here’s what’s to be done about it
I came across these wonderful tips, compassionately offered by Lori Deschene on her website. Much of what she listed spoke to me, and I think you’ll respond just as positively. As she recognizes, pain from any type of trauma can linger long after its outset:
“Maybe someone hurt you physically or emotionally. Maybe you’ve survived something else traumatic—a natural disaster, a fire, an armed robbery. Or maybe you’ve just come out of a trying situation, and though you know you’ll eventually recover, you still feel pain that seems unbearable…Whatever the case may be, you’ve been scarred and you carry it with you through many of your days”
She continues on to say that pain affects everyone, even those that thrive at being independent. Yes, the successful and statuesque have probably been hurt as well. In fact, all of us can relate on some level to the pain of being hurt. It’s not right to dismiss anyone’s suffering and naïve advice such as “just get over it” has little positive affect. Young people are particularly vulnerable. It is estimated that every 100 minutes a teenager commits suicide, regardless of race, geographical location or economical stature. The commonality is the pain.
Dealing with pain and ultimately overcoming it is not an easy task, but these tips offered by Lori sure seem as though they could help. Since I can relate quite a bit I thought I’d share the gist of them with you –
1. Define your pain
It’s not easy to get to the root of the hurt. Rather than exploring the depth of their pain, some people opt to stay in abusive relationships. They believe that they are somehow to blame for the cruelty they endure and it is that misdirected shame that needs to be addressed. They are desperate, but they could work their way out of it. The first step is to uncover why you were hurt to begin with. Face the pain and you’ll have a chance of overcoming it.
2. Express that pain
You can’t count on an opportunity to clearly communicate how you feel to the party that hurt you, nor can you bet on them reacting as you would hope. But get your feelings out anyway. Write them down in a journal or letter. Get it all out. This will help you recognize why you’re hurting and could lead to a sense of empowerment. You are capable of focusing on the lessons learned from your pain – what not to do again – rather than the pain itself.
3. Stay in the present
Don’t live in the past. You play the traumatic events in your head over and over, each time altering the outcome and circumstances in a fantasy response to what you feel you should have done, all while dissecting where you presumably went wrong. Stop torturing yourself! You must accept that the past cannot be changed. Imagine how relieved you’ll be when you let it all go? It’s worth it – trust me! Plus, you’ll be making room for some potential good stuff!
4. Stop telling the story
No amount of reassurance will change what happened. And that’s what we seek when we replay the event for the sympathy of another. Wanting others to acknowledge our pain keeps us right where we don’t want to be, in the place of a victim. You don’t need the permission of anyone to let your pain go and move on. It is okay to start feeling good about things. There are plenty of internet forums to help you through this.
5. Forgive yourself
Even if you didn’t do anything wrong you may blame yourself. You may have played a role in your current situation. You may be living with deep regret, but it’s time to let it go. You can carry that emotional weight only for so long. Why continue to be misery’s company, when you can free yourself? You’ve done your share on dwelling over your perceived mistakes. Been there, done that. How about trying something new, like forgiving yourself and moving on?
6. Stop the blame game
You believe you were a victim. Maybe you were. By no fault of your own, someone was able to hurt you profoundly. But it won’t serve you to sit around blaming yourself – or others. Doing so will only serve to keep you from moving forward. You’re not necessarily responsible for the trauma you endured but you are responsible for your attitude now. Don’t let events or a person from your past have power over who you are today.
7. Don’t let pain be your identity
If everything you do and who you are centers on your pain, you’re not even giving yourself a chance to move on. Although the victim identity may appear to solicit compassion and attention, ask yourself if you are someone others want to spend time with? You can only listen to the same track so often. Allow yourself to experience happiness by releasing yourself from that hurtful identity. Pain no longer must define you. It’s better to have a sad story from your past than to build your present around it.
8. Reconnect with who you were
If you’ve maintained a pain identity for a long time it may be difficult to recall what you were like before you took it on. Who were you before that experience? More profoundly, who would you have become if it never happened? The great news is you can STILL be that person – one free of pain, cynicism and bitterness. Identify with your former and would-be happy self, what would you think about, what would you do, and how would you treat others? You may soon realize who you want to be and who you DON’T.
9. Focus on things that bring you joy
Even if you choose to stay preoccupied you can make a little room for experiencing joy right now. Start simple. Call someone you love. Take your favorite hike. Focus on the here and now. Allow yourself peace from past-dwelling. The more you allow the present to create happiness for you the sooner you’ll prefer it.
10. Share that joy with other people
If you isolate yourself when you’re hurting because it feels safer than allowing people to see your vulnerability, you’re not alone. But you don’t have to vulnerable all the time. You can choose to be around supportive people without once bringing up your pain. By doing fun recreational things you give yourself a break. If you need to return to the dumps that option is always there, but how much better is it to live life with others and have fun? We all deserve to be content and happy, but it’s up to us to make it happen.