There is no bigger emotion that makes us most indifferent to our own happiness than the emotion of hurt. We keep apart and keep away from acting and seeing our dreams by hanging onto hurt to a point that it hurts our relationships, our dreams, aspirations and the very fabric of our lives. Maybe you feel ignored in a relationship or severely criticized & put down or there are scars of abandonment that simply wishes to stay with you. Hurt is the feeling that allows you to close the doors to opportunities and protect yourself in a shell of negative thinking. The difficulty with hurt is the infection it causes in the mind, your mind is taken over by obsessive negative thoughts that can last for months, decades, sometimes a whole lifetime. Most of us hang onto hurt for a long time because we expect someone else to fix it or heal it in someway by acting toward us in a kind and loving way. You know which is the single most difficult act in the human experience to overcome? To let go of expecting someone else to do the right thing and heal our pain! But it is exactly what is needed if we are to get out of our obscure corner and march forward on the path of realizing our dreams.
In his bestselling book ‘The power of Now,’ Eckhart Tolle talks about the “pain body” that we all have. He says that this is the collection of all hurts, sorrows, anger, and fears in an energetic field around your body. It’s your baggage that you haven’t dealt with and continue to carry around. The pain body requires more pain to expand and therefore we end up experiencing automatic reactions to situations that become even more painful. So, we go on collecting hurt and make ourselves appear bigger and bigger victims.
Radhanath Swami gives an analogy. He says accumulating hurt is like picking up a hot burning ember of coal in our hands and holding it day after day, week after week, year after year. Inadvertently, we are only torturing ourselves and if we keep that burning coal in our heart, it will burn to ashes all our virtues, spiritual qualities and make us simply miserable.
The way out is when we shift our consciousness from a victim to a healer identity. The victim focuses on damage, hurt and the bad things that you’ve suffered. Because you have been hurt and most likely have walked on eggshells in your relationship, you have an impulse to be resentful, angry, critical, blaming, controlling, or abusive, behavior that cuts you off from your core values and your true self. Whereas when you develop a healer identity you will focus on your resilience, strengths and a strong desire to improve your life and relationships and you can draw from your core values and derive happiness by reconnecting with your true self.
Identify Your “Little and Unimportant Hurts” : More people walk around saying it’s not important or it doesn’t matter when it is indeed a very important and a big piece of hurting emotion buried within them. They will describe this hurt as being small and unimportant. Men tend to do this rather frequently. Take 15 minutes time and write down a detailed description of all the “little and unimportant hurts” that somehow doesn’t go away. Every little hurt that you keep remembering, that won’t go away, regardless of when it happened, must go on this list. Many people have many of these little hurts from childhood. These emotions are buried within creating difficulties with their health. Identifying these hurts will tell you a great deal about your buried and unexpressed emotions. Then deal with them one at a time how important it is for you to cling on to this hurt, whether you want to free your heart and experience freedom by letting go of this particular emotion.
Learn to say ‘no’: Men and women go through many situations telling themselves that “it doesn’t really matter” or “it’s not important enough to argue about”, basically buying peace by agreeing to something that deep down they do not agree with. They find themselves feeling unhappy, disgruntled, and angry with the individual involved. This type of situation when what you say and do is not in sync with what you feel creates unwanted tension, hurt and unhappiness in relationships. Buying peace at any price creates negative feelings within you. If you are habituated to saying ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no,’ buy time instead of buying peace. You don’t have to immediately agree to something in which you don’t have your heart. Instead you can gently buy some time. In the meantime, prepare your script which is objective and reasonable that enables you to say ‘no.’
Practice detachment : Michael Yapko, a clinical psychologist in his book ‘When Living Hurts,’ talks about identifying pattern know as the ‘therapeutic metaphor,’ as a clinical approach to healing hurts. Usually hurt is experienced as a metaphor by people eg: I have a broken heart. Some of us may experience hurt like a feeling of being stabbed in the heart or stabbed in the back, or that you have been trampled over. So ask yourself what the hurt feels like inside. Instead of feeling like you were stabbed in the back, step out of your body and see the stabbing and the person doing the stabbing and you will notice that he/she is hurt from a former stabbing. Now ask yourself as you are being stabbed, but watching it from a distance how that person is ever going to heal your hurt when he/she is in too much pain? He/she actually need your healing, but not the other way around. When you practice detachment from this metaphor, the hurt no longer affects you and your mind will automatically become much more positive and optimistic. If you can recognize the other person’s hurt and help them see where they are hurting, it might open up new channels of communication in your relationship.
Learn the art of Forgiveness : Forgiveness is something that occurs as a result of owning and releasing your negative emotions. We often reach for forgiveness without doing the work required to release emotions of hurt and anger & we find the hurt linger on. But when we have worked on identifying the hurt (small and big ones) in the above mentioned manner and released them, then we can truly forgive but if we withhold the free choice to forgive someone, then we simply remain a victim of whoever has hurt us or abused us. As we give the gift of forgiveness, we’re healed. Radhanath Swami says forgiveness means becoming well-wishers of our persecutors, and think for their welfare. He says that one who has the capacity to endlessly forgive the other can truly love the other. Forgiveness is something you can do to open the door to love, to compassion, and to free you own heart and be relieved of the poison of hatred, anger and resentment! If we cannot forgive then there is no possibility of any relationship surviving at any level.
The Power of Prayer : Certain emotions just hang on, regardless what you do. Prayers have great potency and can enable you to experience deep healing of all your hurts and reconnect you with your original nature of happiness. You can pray to the Lord in all your earnest surrendering the hurt emotion to the Lord. You can also ask someone who you trust to pray for you. There is one thing that you can included in your prayers i,e asking for a grateful heart. Gratitude is the antidote to self pity. Self pity is what we indulge in inadvertently as our anchor when we experience hurt but know that it is a downward spiral and a little bit of gratitude can pull us out of that situation. We can be grateful to the lord in every situation and view the hurt as means of purifying our existence to bring us one step closer to the Lord Himself.
Radhanath Swami says, “Pain may be inevitable but suffering is optional.” It is our free choice, whether we want to suffer or not, though the experience of pain may not be a choice. Even though physically the pain might be hurting, we can find deep fulfillment in the gratitude of having been purified, or we can simply suffer.