We are imperfect humans living in an imperfect world. Because of this, we will be hurt throughout our lives (unfortunately). It’s important that we learn how to handle being hurt so that we can grow from it, learn how to protect ourselves better, and be able to continue to live our lives well. I find that sometimes, people like to avoid acknowledging the hurt and the pain they’ve experienced. This can be for a number of reasons (i.e. they are in denial, they don’t want to “bring the past up” again, they don’t want to “make myself stressed and upset” again, they don’t want to be weak, or they just want to get away from the bad as quickly as possible). The thing is, on the surface, it makes sense to try to get away from the pain as fast as possible to help save ourselves. The problem with that is that, by doing this, we don’t have a chance to learn and grow from it.
Humans tend to react out of the hurts we’ve experienced. This is more likely if we haven’t worked through the hurt, and less likely if we’ve done the hard work of working through and growing from it. Feeling pain over the past is not weak. You have to be a strong and courageous person to face a hurt head on, admit it, and work hard to resolve the hurt as best as you can. While acknowledging a hurt might make life a little more painful in the moment, it will make life much less painful in the future.
I love this quote: “But wounds should not stay wounds. They need to heal. A relational wound needs to be resolved so that you get back to normal life- that is, being in healthy connections, being freed form the past, and exercising your grifts and passions… Time, by itself, heals very little. Broken bones need more than time, as do homes in disrepair and lives that have had a troubled relationship. What you really need in order to heal is support… The process of revisiting the past enables you to clear the decks of the previous relationship so you don’t carry old emotional junk into a new relationship” (Beyond Boundaries, Townsend, p 62-63).
We can’t get the support we need in order to process and heal without acknowledging that we have been hurt. We can’t “clear the decks” by ignoring. While acknowledging the hurt might create a bit more pain in the moment, it allows us to engage fully and healthily in future relationships, and minimizes the amount of junk from the hurt that influences the current relationship.
Acknowledging our hurt is good. But we can’t stay there forever, ruminating about it. Acknowledging the hurt is the first step in healing, but it is a very important step as well.
Now it’s your turn to share! What’s tough about admitting that we’ve been hurt in the past? Something for you to think about- what “junk” are you currently carrying with you from previous relationships that haven’t been resolved?