What Changed You?
When it happened you changed. You might not have seen it coming. But it was inevitably going to be a mess and it was: a train wreck.
I’m talking about that time when, in a moment, you were overcome with hurt. Somebody you loved – or thought you did – stopped loving you. Perhaps they declared it, or maybe you felt it. Either way, life changed from that moment on.
It has been my experience that many of us experience what I would call cataclysmic hurt. Externally, others may have barely noticed because it was all happening on the inside. There, your inner world was being trashed leaving you feeling betrayed to the core of your being (or so it felt).
“It happens. Get over it”. Isn’t that the standard advice? If it is, it smacks of incredible insensitivity and a complete lack of understanding of what has actually happened.
For this is a deep and abiding pain mixed up with anger, powerlessness, betrayal, and plain old shame. On top of that, there is the feeling of being used and being left abandoned and confused.
That kind of personal catastrophe changes you and it’s often not good. Repeatedly, I’ve seen people stay diminished by the experience. Hardened, they become less trusting and certainly less warm.
Sadly, the experience can easily be a pivot point by which the rest of life is judged. Openness gives way to cynicism and hurt converts into a loss of inner peace in the process.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. When these earthshattering break ups happen, pain doesn’t have to define the rest of our life. Grief – for that is what this is all about – can translate into new beginnings of a wiser kind.
When people abandon you, the effect is intense. Yet how we interpret our experiences is at least as important as the actual events themselves.
We can easily awfulize someone, or blame half of the world for their inherent failings. We could, but it won’t help.
Somehow, we need to interpret our painful encounters in ways that help us to heal. To do that, we need to reach that mysterious point when we learn to forgive.
“I can never forgive him for leaving me like he did”. If someone keeps saying that then they themselves will never be free. For in that declaration is the implicit message that they must remain the gatekeeper (forever blaming and standing in judgment over what happened).
It’s time to let ourselves off the hook and let go. Some will ask, “Doesn’t that let the person who hurt you off the hook?” To which the answer can only be, “Do you really think they care how you feel anyway?”
Forgiving others is about releasing ourselves. Doing so allows us to move beyond hurt and make room for infinitely better and more beautiful things. Because, the world still has much loveliness to experience and hope is emboldened when we dare to care.
By allowing our hurting state to change, we open the door to discovering new joy and unexpected wonder (Now who amongst us doesn’t need a fresh sense of that?).
Comments are closed.