I had a recent conversation with a friend who is back in the dating scene after being married for many years. She expressed lots of feelings about new relationships and dating, the bottom line that was up for her.. She doesn't want to hurt anyone.
We began a dialogue about being hurt, hurting about hurting others, being accused of hurting others, how to resolve our hurts from the past...
I understand feeling hurt, as far back as i can remember I have felt hurt by others. I'd have to say that others rarely play the role that I've assigned them. I've had a steady stream of not feeling important, not feeling valued, not being a priority, not being seen, heard, cherished. There is a whole belief system about not being enough, not having enough, things not being good enough, bottom line, lack..
The result of believing this stream of thought is hurt... deep hurt.. Because I've felt it for so long, it has history, momentum and often especially in childhood, it was more than I could handle, I didn't have the skills to resolve it. What I've learned is that when we feel something that is too much, when we feel overwhelmed, we often project it, in an attempt to lessen our burden, on to another, it's their fault!
I also know about blame, blame is what we do when we can't take responsibility or we can't deal with how we feel, we lay it on someone else. I've found myself lately in loads of blame and hurt and fear. I've been fighting to keep my marriage alive for years- trying everything, separation, moving, breaking up, open relationship, etc.. This is after 8 years of doing relationship workshops and this is where I land.. in a cesspool of hurt, blame and anger.
Also recently another very close friend has expressed how I have hurt them, spoken unkindly, been sharp toned and critical, not valued our deep connection and relationship, I was told that if I continued in this way this friend would not be in my life. They did not want to be hurt by me.
This is what we often do in relationships, if the other person does not play the role that we want them to, if they don't love us, support us, take care of us, be loyal, be truthful, show up as we want... we withdraw, we criticize them, threaten to leave them, punish them, or yell at them.
We feel hurt (and we can't bare it) so we blame, we tell ourselves that the other person or the situation has to change in order for us to be ok. We believe that they have caused our hurt, they are the cause and eventually we hate them for it or we leave them. Often we are angry at ourselves for not taking better care of ourselves, not standing up for ourselves, we turn on ourselves because we can't seem to resolve the hurt within.
It certainly seems like relationships reveal where we are unresolved, they show us what we needed to address internally and give us a chance to find resolve within.
However if we don't realize this, we think that what others do causes our pain, our hurt, if only they'd change, then we'd be alright. This is where we stay so long as we are unable to resolve this internally, we blame, we criticize, we condemn and what is unresolved within us, stays unresolved, unmet.
As I spoke to my friend I heard myself say.. well lets take a look at hurt. It is entirely subjective, what is devastating for one person is not for another, depends on our past, our conditioning, our beliefs. One person may find your habits intollerable while another thinks they are funny. We may be hurt by present circumstances or sometimes the past arises and we are reacting to something unresolved within us, having little to do with what is happening now. It can get all jumbled together and it can be difficult to seperate it out.
So maybe we have a choice... we can move with unconscious reactivity, blame, create drama, leave, be right... or we can stop and notice.. wow I'm triggered, there is something happening here for me.. and we can get curious.. maybe I can just BE here, notice what's here for me, notice what's happening in my body, notice tension or holding or heaviness in my body, wonder if I can just allow that? Is it ok that this is here now? or is it not ok?
I often notice that it's not ok, I don't want to feel anxious, stressed, terror, tense, rejected, fear..
It's not ok with me.. and here is the cause of the suffering... so wonder if I could just be here, feel what's here, allow what's here to be here...
This is a practice that can help us to find internal resolve for our past. It begins with taking the time each day to sit quietly, to pause, to be still. To begin to notice what is actually happening here and now so that we can begin to sort out are we even here or are we immersed in the past?
Once we begin to notice what's here, we can ask is it ok for this to be here, if it is ok, we could just notice that, sink into it, beginning to come more and more into the awareness of being here, allowing what's here to be here, noticing how sensations, emotions, experiences move through and naturally releases.
If we notice that whatever is here is not ok, not ok to feel the fear, the anger, the pain, often this is not ok.. I can notice that too, and back off a bit, taking it slow, noticing if there is tenderness here to meet this fear, this wound, the tension.
If I can sit with feeling hurt or fear of hurting others, if I can sit with fear, judgment, pain, if I can just notice these as sensations in the body when they arise, I can be present with myself, I can be here, this is what I really want - to be here, to not be fighting with myself, at war with myself, at war with others, keeping the war going.
So I can ask myself.. what do I want? how do I want to BE with myself? How do I want to care for myself? Can I notice what's here, what arises? Can I be here? Is there tenderness here? Can I let the tenderness touch against these wounds in me, the fear, the hurt? Can I stop and be still with myself and just be here?
Would love to hear how this is working for you.. much love JoAnne