Hurt People Hurt People

If you have ever been a part of a relationship, I am willing to bet that you have also found yourself amidst an internal struggle that is, at least in part, due to something that has happened within that relationship. Something that was confusing, hurtful, or upsetting. Something that was difficult to let go of, move on from, or understand. As such, I am willing to bet that whatever it was that had caused you discomfort has also had a lasting impact on you in some meaningful way. Perhaps it has influenced how you approach people. Perhaps it taught you a valuable lesson. Perhaps it shaped you in some other meaningful way, for better or for worse. Rarely do we make it through such things without an impact being made.

Because of this, it comes as no surprise that such lesson can be quite difficult to learn. That we may be rendered incapable of embracing a lesson until we are capable of approaching the situation from an entirely different perspective. A perspective that does not focus on the hurt and is instead driven by a compassionate empathy for all that are involved. A perspective that allows us to let go of what may otherwise hard to set free.

When you take a moment to think about the implications of approaching painful circumstance in such a loving way, it is no wonder that many of us undergo a transformation of sorts as we move forward. It is no wonder that we also begin to soften, forgive, and let go of that which has hurt us in the past. I say that this is no wonder, because I believe that when we are able to approach another human being from a point of compassion, we begin to see life through their eyes, instead of through our own, and in doing so, we often gain a better understanding of their true intentions and greater insight into their deeper experiences. Rather than being convinced that we have been hurt by their selfishness or deceit, we may see instead that they were driven by another force entirely. Or, rather than looking down upon them with disappointment, judgment, or condemnation, we may soften our gaze and realize that they are coming from a place that we otherwise may not understand.

And of course, as I say this, please understand that I do not mean to minimize any pain that has been experienced, nor excuse any wounds that have been inflicted. I only mean to say that it does seem to feel better, and therefore take us farther, when we are able to invest in love and compassion and allow our pain to be transformed, rather than submerge ourselves in negative and destructive emotions.

So today, if you find yourself revisiting a painful relationship, I challenge you to consider the alternative perspective. Attempt to understand what may otherwise be unfathomable. Reject the victim mentality and let go of blame. Instead, hold fast to your optimism in humankind and have faith in what you believe to be good.

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Grrrr

I once read that some of the most valuable lessons we learn in life are taught to us by difficult people. You know the type of people I am referring to. People that seem to embody cynicism, judgment, and pessimism. Those that take delight in the misfortune of others or seem satisfied by having a complaint. The people that expect the worst from the world and seem committed to their unhappiness.

Being around negativity, even for a short moment, can be frustrating and emotionally taxing. Yet unfortunately, it is unlikely that we can avoid negative people all together. We are bound to have a run-in with a disheartening individual at some time or another, so it is best that we are prepared to respond in such a way that protects us from the negativity while still allowing us to learn something positive from the experience.

So, having said that, what is the best way to respond? Is it best that we ignore them and hope that they go away? Should we respond in kind and give them an attitude adjustment? Do we shower them in sunshine and encourage them to see life from a more elevated perspective? And, on the same token, how do we protect ourselves from being drawn in by the pull of their negative energy? How do we prevent an unsettling encounter from ruining our mood?

To answer these questions, consider the following checklist, presented by author and counselor, Julie Hoyle.

  1. What does this person need?

Is there a chance that positive input is being sought? If the answer is yes, share something enlightening. If the answer is no, keep the interaction brief.

  1. Are they acting as a mirror?

The answer is a resounding “yes” if we have been sucked in by their negativity. When there is a pull, there is a resonance, and we are being shown where we are resisting the flow of life. When this is the case, breathe in deeply and accept what is.

  1. Remember, this too will pass.

While we can offer compassion and point to other alternatives, we are not responsible for others. Suffering, to a point, is a choice. Be a part of the solution rather than adding to the illusion. Create space for an opening of awareness to happen.

  1. Avoidance

Protect and safeguard the sanctity of your internal state, and surround yourself with people who nurture you. On other occasions, remain upbeat and transform the negative into a positive. Do it for long enough and it works wonders. If the other person cannot turn you on to their negativity, they may eventually give up.

  1. Love really is the answer.

Everything always, always comes down to love. If we love and respect ourselves, we do not give ourselves away cheaply, and we do not stoop to negativity. Instead, we stand our ground, offering others a place to rise up to. Always listen with love, and offer kindness to everyone, even if they don’t seem to “deserve” it at the time.

Stop. Just, stop.

I often come across To-Do Lists that enumerate the things that I must do in, or add to my already very-full life. And while these lists often shine light upon areas of life that are thirsting for attention, I find that incorporating more into my life is not what I need. Rather, what I need is less. The following is a list to things to start

Stop spending time with the wrong people. Life is far too short to spend time with the people that drain your energy. Re-evaluate those that do not fulfill or replenish you in some way.

Stop running from your problems. Know that you cannot change what you do not confront, and know that this is not easy nor instantaneous. But the delayed gratification is indeed worth the effort and the wait.

Stop lying to yourself. Let’s be honest. We aren’t really fooling ourselves anyway, are we?

Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. Know the difference between selflessness and self-neglect.

Stop trying to be someone you’re not. Be authentic, or the you that feels most like yourself. And know that this this good

Stop trying to hold onto the past. Let go of the past and instead change your relationship with it Change how it lives within you.

Stop being afraid of mistakes. Mistakes can be inconvenient. But they need be nothing more than that. So, dare, do, and adapt. And use old mistakes propel and guide you, not define you or bring you down.

Stop trying to buy happiness. Happiness does not have a price. Know that your worth is intrinsic, and do not attach a price tag to it.

Stop looking to others for happiness. We cannot offer nor experience what we already do not carry within us.

Stop being idle. Go and do. Go and be. This is called living

Stop waiting to be ready. More often than not, we will never feel quite “ready”. Know when to act, ready or not.

Stop being in relationships for the wrong reasons. Bad company is not a good substitute for loneliness. Choose wisely, and do not force the process. And remember that all relationships have something good to offer, even if it is a hard lesson learned.

Stop competing, and stop being jealous. There will always been someone “better” and you will always be “better” than someone else.

Stop complaining. You are not a victim, and no one is out to get you. The curveballs of life are meant to shift your direction, not derail you.

Stop holding grudges. Hatred is toxic. Especially to the self. Forgiveness is the anecdote. For both the self and others

Stop letting others bring you down. Take the high road so they have a place to step up to. Show them that there is a better way.

Stop explaining yourself. Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you, anyway.

Stop doing the same things over and over. Or you’ll keep getting the same things over and over. Distance yourself from old patterns and learn.

Stop overlooking small moments. They are bigger than you think.

 

Stop striving for perfection. Instead, strive for effective

 

Stop following the path of least resistance. Take the road less traveled by.

 

Stop saying it’s okay when it isn’t. It is okay to be not-okay sometimes. Rather, sometimes, this is exactly what you need to do in order to pick up the pieces and be okay again.

 

Stop blaming others. If you blame others for what goes wrong, who gets credit for what goes right? Own your life.

 

Stop trying to be everything to everyone. This is impossible and it leads to burn out . Narrow your focus and be good at what you do.

 

Stop worrying. Know when to let go and when to transform that energy into action, and watch the world change.

 

Stop focusing on what you don’t want. Invest in positive thinking, and you will attract wonderful l things.

 

Stop being ungrateful. There is always, always something to be grateful for. Always.

People Pleasing? No please.

If we are honest with ourselves, most of us must admit that we care, at least to some extent, that we care about what other people think of us. We want to be liked. We want people to think well of us. Likewise, most of us want to do well for and please other people. We want to touch lives. We want to make a difference. And, in my opinion, this is part of being human. As such, I think it is natural that we feel driven to please those that we care about and have a positive impact on the lives of others.

I mean, really think about what a motivating force this truly is. Think about the beautiful work that has been done in this world because of our natural tendency to give a care about other people. It is a good thing, is it not?

…I really think it is. But I also think that this can be too much of a good thing, especially when we become imbalanced and inadvertently cause harm to ourselves or others because of our desire to please everyone at once.

This tendency that I am referring to is most often referred to as “people pleasing”. And if you are a “people pleaser” you know what I mean. You know the moral dilemma you are faced with each and every time you must choose to say “yes” or “no” to someone you care about, including yourself. You know how hard it is to accept the idea that you simply cannot please everyone all the time. Or, perhaps even worse, that not everyone is going to receive you in the way that you want to be received. If you are a “people pleaser”, you are most likely kind, polite, reliable, and a peace-keeper. And, chances are, you are also familiar with feeling stressed, overextended, taken advantage of, highly-sensitive, resentful, lost, and sometimes, inauthentic.

If you are a pleaser-of-the-people in this way, you probably put other people first, even at the detriment of your own well-being. And while that can be admirable and virtuous at times, it is also important that you are able to establish and maintain boundaries for your own well-being.

In fact, not only is this important, but it is also natural and healthy. Yet, if you are “people pleaser”, this is much easier said than done.

So, how do you go about re-establishing new patterns within relationships? Consider the following five steps:

  1. Address your fears.

Quite often, the desire to please others stems from a deep-rooted fear or wound that deserves attention. Examine this underlying issue, and you will likely find healing.

  1. Reflect on your values.

Clarify what is important to you. These priorities will likely become a guiding force that is much stronger than your fears. As such, they will help you determine what is most right for you.

  1. Create boundaries.

Remember that boundaries must exist and be respected in every healthy relationship. Know and communicate your limits, and do not be afraid to draw lines.

  1. Find a way to say “no.”

You cannot say “yes” to everything all the time. So find a way that is comfortable for you to decline or say “no” to the things that you are aligned with so that you may say “yes” to the things you are. Remember that saying “no” is a skill that becomes easier with practice.

  1. Stop apologizing for yourself.

…Especially when it isn’t necessary. You do not owe anyone an apology, nor an explanation, for being true to yourself.