There are times when things happen that deeply hurt you. Perhaps it is the disappointment of your children, the broken trust of your spouse, the betrayal of a friend, the abandonment of a family member, the failure of a business, or the rejection of a neighbor. Whatever the incident, you have a choice to either deal with the hurt or bury the hurt.
Often the reason you bury the hurt is because you don’t want to feel the pain. Instead, sometimes you turn to medication to stop the pain as if the pain is the problem instead of a symptom of the problem. Medication does not necessarily come in the form of drugs, some medicate through excessive shopping, eating or drinking or perhaps fantasy thinking through gambling, pornography, television or video games. Whatever the medication, the goal is the same, to dull or distract from the pain and hurt.
But you can choose to deal with the hurt instead. The process is threefold beginning with recognizing the hurt has occurred, responding constructively and restoring the damaged relationship. With each step, the hurt diminishes over time allowing the stress of the incident to fade. However this process is not easy as many get stuck in one of the stages which prolongs the hurt far longer than needed.
Recognize. Our ability to recognize and be honest with the hurt greatly impacts your ability to heal. Honest is the most difficult step because it requires admission of the pain and reaching out for help. Feeling pain does not make you weak or venerable, ironically the reverse is true. For it is honesty with yourself and later with those around that begin the healing process. By not being honest, you continue to lie setting yourselves up for even more hurt in the future.
Respond. Your response to the hurt can either destroy or rebuild your relationships. Angry outbursts, vengeful thoughts, ignoring others, and manipulation schemes are all examples of unhealthy responses to hurt which will eventually destroy the relationship. Alternatively, by lovingly confronting the hurt and processing it in a constructive environment, you can work towards the next step in the healing process.
Restore. Broken relationships continue to cause pain even if they are distant; however healthy relationships allow you to prosper. Healthy relationships allow room for mistakes without judgment, for boundaries without control, for security without anxiety, and for safety without fear. They provide peace in our lives which ultimately brings harmony and freedom from strife.
One of the lessons learned from giving birth is that from the greatest pain comes the greatest joy. Just as in child-birth, the pain is an indication of the upcoming birth so the hurt in your life can bring about unexpected joy through restored relationships. You are not created to feel joy without pain; instead sometimes you feel the greatest joy after the pain. Use the hurt you feel as an opportunity to grow past the pain and into the joy of a restored fellowship with your child, spouse, friend, family member or neighbor.