When you were deeply hurt by somebody, what were your go-to-words?
“I’m fed up.”
“Whatever, I don’t care.”
“What did I expect?”
“I should’ve known better”
“I will never forgive you.”
Whatever the words were, despite the fact that they stemmed from a place of frustration and pain, they also stemmed from a place of love.
It is abundantly difficult to look those who hurt us in the eye and resort to “I love you.” If you have chosen these words above all others in a time of pain, you are one of a kind. Even when time has passed, add ten years to the memory, and most people can’t put two and two together: that pain in your stomach is a result of love, not hatred, anger, or “whatever”.
We don’t get deeply injured by those we don’t care for. We may be offended by strangers here and there, but we forget the strangers’ words and faces quickly and file the memories away. It is those we most genuinely love that can really disappoint us.
The world is a very small place, and somehow the universe will reunite you with the friends and family you’ve given up on. You will see them somewhere… strolling down the street in a foreign city, strolling into your office to ask for help, strolling into a celebration for a common friend, strolling onto your social media feed… we tend to loop back and casually stroll past each other, even when we aim for eternal avoidance.
I like to think of this as a glitch in the matrix, giving us a second chance to say the true words that remain unspoken… to finally replace “whatever”.
How do you react when you’re suddenly facing someone who deeply hurt you?
RUN! Right? That happens sometimes.
Sometimes, we still need to run.
Stop and stare? That happens too. You only realize when your jaw hits the ground that you’re really seeing that ghost from Christmas past.
Wave, smile, and pretend nothing bad ever happened? Yeah. This is the best way to get under their skin, and your own.
Attempt to reach out, extend a hand, and offer forgiveness? Oh no! No. No. Nopppe. Right? I know!
We’d rather just say we really don’t care. No really, we really don’t!
Consider this… what would it take to admit to those who hurt us that we love them, and to forgive them whether or not they ask for our forgiveness? A whole lot of character is required, for sure. It takes great character to lower one’s head, but this ultimately raises you higher. The goal is not to stand taller than the person who hurt you, but rather to stand taller than who you used to be when you could not look past the anger and frustration.
It’s easier said than done, I know. We prefer to avoid the people we are angry with, as well as those we fear or dislike, especially when the root of it all is love. But what do we have to lose when we’ve already been hurt? More hurt. So what? At this point, does it even matter if we sprinkle on a little more pain, when what we stand to gain from forgiving is so much greater?
I challenge you to do something a little different the next time you stroll into the vicinity of someone who hurt you. Cut the bullshit. Use new words. “I’m deeply hurt because I love/value/care for/miss you. I forgive you.”
How about that?
And remember… we design our own luck!