We Only Hurt Because We Feel Hurt
Healing is the work of a lifetime. Here’s the right way to start
I have this strange friend. I call him Rabbit because he has big ears and laughs all the time, like Bugs Bunny. Apart from being a special specimen, Rabbit is very skilled in technical matters, especially in computer programming. But — he sucks at being accountable. No one’s perfect.
Our friendship has always been like Friday and Monday. It’s fun until it’s time to work.
I’m always working on something and so there comes a time when I’d appreciate a hand in technical skills. And who’s best suited for this? You guessed that right. Good old B-Rabbit.
But here’s the thing.
Whenever I needed his technical skills, he’d always promise to be there. We’d agree on a certain day, at a certain time — and he’d never show up.
My usual reaction was always frustration. And then anger. And in preferring to keep my feelings to myself, I would deny them their rightful existence.
As I kept living this way, I accumulated more and more of these chaotic energies, thinking that I was doing things the right way. That I was maintaining a healthy relationship with a friend by not responsibly expressing myself.
Eventually, I’d meet Rabbit on some occasion. And our whole discussion would feel normal, but each one of my words would be ‘powered up’ by those angry feelings. I had to try really hard to keep these feelings from coming out.
It was not only very draining, energetically speaking, but it also ruined every interaction with my friend. Because as you might’ve guessed it — the repressed feelings would eventually storm out and destroy everything on their way.
Conflict. Then guilt. Then ‘forgive-me-I-love-you’. The cycle repeats.
It’s human to want to conform, to want to be accepted, validated, approved by others. We do this in different ways but there’s a common denominator — the repression of our feelings in exchange of social validation.
While pretending can help us move faster, it never gets us very far.
Whatever we repress becomes added pressure to our already boiling psyche. We’re human beings. Being human means learning, and healing along the way.
While most of us love to pretend everything’s fine and conform in order to be accepted — it feels forced, unnatural.
Instead of trying to be a “good person”, we should own our feelings and realize that everything might not be so okay after all. And only after giving our feelings their due respect — do politeness, diplomacy and all favorable social traits become natural.
Growing up means being responsible. Being responsible means not only being accountable to our role in the world, but more importantly — to what we think about, and how we feel.
As the cycle kept repeating itself with Rabbit, something didn’t feel right. Feeling “chained” by how I always reacted made me uncomfortable.
Freedom is what I value most. And by freedom, I mean thinking and feeling freely, regardless of what is happening in the outside world.
That’s when I decided to give a closer look at what was happening within. I knew the trends of the relationship. I’d always count on Rabbit for some important work, and he’d never be there. Those were the facts.
But why was I still asking for his help then? And worse, why was I still getting angry knowing how he behaved in the past?
That’s when I realized that I was the one expecting something from him in the first place. And whether or not he fulfilled what was asked from him — those expectations were mine.
But wait, there’s more.
Although things seemed obvious at first, what was more interesting was the pattern behind it. In not having my expectations met, I felt abandoned. And this feeling of abandonment made me angry.
How on Earth was I abandoned? This was the first thought that popped out.
I don’t need to cling to people because I need to fill a gap in myself through them. I fill this gap by myself first — then I form relationships from a place of pure appreciation and gratitude. This is what love means, giving each and everyone we meet their rightful space to be.
There was no real abandonment. Only my programing. I am an adult. I can’t be abandoned. I am responsible for myself. Being an adult also means being responsible for my expectations. No one else can be.
Yet, my learned reactions proved me that I needed to take care of my feelings. And that’s what I did. I dissolved the pattern once and for all. I am responsible for my emotional and mental states.
While Rabbit remains a Bugs Bunny, always laughing and never taking anything seriously, I’m just appreciative of our friendship. He’s just one of the infinite ways through which life expresses itself.
As we spoke about it in how to heal our inner child…
We shouldn’t judge our emotional and mental ‘baggage’. We’re all healing by helping each other bring out different aspects of ourselves — that’s the role of relationships.
And as Art Bram insightfully wrote in “How to Put Your Love and Compassion Superpower Tools to Use”; our core self, who we are, our awareness — is a loving parent. We are this loving parent. And being a parent means parenting our thoughts and feelings. It means caring about our internal state, learning to give it attention and love.
This is what it means to heal, to grow up. It’s about learning to be responsible for our feelings, to take our power back from people, which happens when we blame people/situation for whatever we’re going through.
This is the work of a lifetime. There’s no need to rush anything. The process happens by itself, and we take it one step at a time, never forgetting to enjoy the beauty of life.