We Have All Been Hurt
About a month ago, I wrote a post about how I had spent almost 50 years of not believing I was worthy (lovable), and consequently working 20 hours a day to prove to the world that I deserved love and respect. I talked about how when many of us make mistakes and we all make many, we not only own them, but we hold on to them as further evidence of our unworthiness. I ended the post stating that my biggest regret was that I had not been good to myself and forgiven myself for my mistakes.
Within a few hours, I realized that I had opened up a world of pain and people everywhere were hurting badly from negative experiences, paralyzing fear and emotional pain. In fact, the post received almost 400 likes and over a hundred comments from folks that had a similar difficult time “trying to find self-worth” because of learned behaviors and traumas from childhood. Others said they had learned to forgive others but simply could not forgive themselves.
I want to say at this point that one thing guaranteed in life is that we will be hurt and disappointed by those who we love and we will hurt others as well. Many of our early childhood traumas and in some cases abuse will result in toxic relationships, negative thought patterns, repeated bad decisions and unhealthy emotional dependencies as adults. I often tell people that there are two things we can’t control; our relatives and what happen to us as a child.
Victim or Warrior?
So the question becomes what are we going to do with all this pain. I believe people either subtlety or dramatically move toward remaining a victim or becoming a warrior and this determines their path in life. In his beautiful book Warrior of the Light, Paulo Coelho describes the pain and disappointments of life as “the beloved marks and scars that will open the gates of Paradise to me.” I love this because if we are warriors, then we allow whatever pain we experience—whether self-inflicted or caused by others—to be our teacher, it can transition us to a new place.
How does this transition take place? Part of my research focuses on the human brain and in particular how we form and change our brain wiring to impact our conscious thoughts and experiences. I think the most revolutionary aspect of this work is the fact that not only external experiences but also our very thoughts themselves can change our brain wiring. It reminds me of what King Solomon says in Proverbs (23:7),
“For as he (she) thinketh in his (her) heart, so is he (she).”
So my two greatest influences, the Bible and science are saying exactly the same thing; as or what we think determines who we become.
This is why it is so critical for us to first acknowledge what we have been through, our traumas and what we have done to others. As Alcoholic Anonymous says, we must make amends to others that we have hurt if it does not harm others. Then it is time to move forward and this starts with our thoughts that become words, actions, habits and destinies. Each thought toward victim-hood only increases the likelihood that the next thought will be about becoming a victim. Each thought toward warrior-hood only increases the likelihood that you will become a warrior. Many of us (like me) may take a while to overcome early traumas but the sooner we understand the power of our thoughts, the sooner we can begin the journey to recovery that will “open the doors of Paradise.”