When wishing people a happy birthday, I used to add, "And may you always find what you need before you need it." Because the things (people, etc.) that I need always seem to go missing, I really couldn't think of a better birthday-gift, or wish, for that matter. But now, there is something even better:
As I tore apart my house seeking that which is clearly lost, I found other things. Things I'd nearly forgotten about. Letters, cards, pictures...a plethora of reminders about a life well-lived. Not to mention, a life full of pain.
Pain isn't something you forget exactly. It's just easier to live with over time. But it never really goes away, does it???
If you have pain from your past (or, in your present), try this exercise:
Either speak or write what you want the party who caused your pain to say to you. Put it on paper or in a recorder. Then, listen....
When you hear yourself playing the part of the reckless soul who hurt yours, what do you hear? Do you hear grief and sorrow on their part? Perhaps you even began channeling some tears as you reversed the roles???
Not every situation warrants this kind of attention, of course, but it is extremely helpful to "hear" what that other person would say if their own insecurities and fears didn't hold them emotional hostage. Once you've listened to what you need to hear, it's your turn to respond. Record that, too. Or, write it out in a letter. No one but you will ever hear it, read it, or see it. You can erase all this immediately after you finish the exercise. But first, pay attention to your response. Is it what you expected???
Listen to what you had to say to the person who caused you pain. Where are your disconnects? When you identify the things that most bother you, you can begin the work of healing or recognizing and acknowledging your own needs. In other words, you will be taking responsibility for yourself and your feelings. You will no longer be a victim. You will, in fact, increase your personal power. No matter how helpless you felt when you were victimized, by completing this exercise, you have reclaimed agency over your pain, and, the person(s) that caused it.
What I found fascinating about performing this task was how surprised I was at what came out when I both played the part of my abuser(s), as well as in my response to the imagined-acknowledgement. I once had a colleague, a psychologist, ask me why I wasn't more angry about a particularly vexing situation. You see, it's not that I'm not angry...I'm just not reactionary. We all react to shocking news, of course. But, for the most part, I am rarely shocked by forever-disappointing human behavior. Also, I'm a woman. Being lied to, used, abused is something I've gotten rather used to. It's no longer a surprise, like it was even seven or eight years ago. I suppose I've outgrown the fairy tale that people will choose love over greed. That's not as sad as it may sound. Realism is not pessimism. Being realistic helps you survive. It's the disappointments that take us by surprise that are the most hurtful. I call them social bombs.
Have you ever had a doctor tell you your head was full of cancer and you would die in two years? No??? Just me then...right. Well, if you had that same unfortunate experience, you would understand why social bombs suck. It's easy to dish them out when you haven't a clue about your own faults and foibles. But once mortality checks your coat at the door, you'll find your awareness of how others feel increases exponentially.
I don't care how many times you have to record and re-record the conversation you'd like to have but won't get any other way--just do it. Like Nike. But without spending $200 on a pair of sneakers. Or even breaking much of a sweat. Though, you may shed more than one tear....
Whether a parent, a boss, a spouse, or, that frustratingly narcissistic ex, give yourself the gift of closure. Waiting for those who hurt you to help is self-sabotage. And, as we wind up our half-way point of June 1st for #AwakeLife in #2017, it's important to increase our self-awareness in order to better achieve future success.
However, if the person reading this wronged another, causing pain and suffering...this exercise is not for you. Breathing is not for you either. You don't deserve to fill your lungs if you can't take responsibility for your own actions. Period. So, either apologize, or join a monastery, if they'll have you. You need to stay far away from other people until you have earned your humanity.
And, you will. I guarantee it....
When you hurt a person's life, you hurt yourself. It creates a boomerang effect. Eats away at your insides. Even if you're a narcissist. I once watched a documentary on a man who killed for the mob. He claimed to feel nothing. Of course, he was incarcerated, and had been for a very long time. That's what typically happens to destroyers. You eventually get caught in your own web. There is no escaping it. And, because you caused pain, I can also guarantee something else:
You are an unequivocal coward.
Cowards cause pain as a preemptive strike against what their own fear and insecurity prompt them to expect from others. It's sad. Pathetic, even. Such creatures end up alone. Like the man who abandons the love of his life, only to read every word she writes for years upon years. Desperate to see himself somewhere between the lines. Forever relegated to the periphery, a mere footnote in her margins. But he relishes the chance to remember the light he will always miss. Miss, because he was too afraid to fight for what he really wanted.
Most abusers act like victims--it's part of their cover. But all willfully choose to irreparably damage another human being. I get that such individuals are warped by their own deep pain and grief, but if I can somehow get up each day and put positive energy into the world, anyone can. You just have to want to. That means taking responsibility for your own life.
I've written so much about how to win at love...and yet, there is still a great deal of loss in my world. Finding the letters and pictures I found today in my search for what was missing helped me see that I have been searching for the same thing for a very, very long time. Irony...the one accessory I never lose! But I did manage to find multiple pairs of sunglasses today. #Winning!!!
Maybe I'm low on #TigerBlood these days, although the tiger-motif is very hot right now in high-end fashion. Perhaps I will avail myself of one or two of those ferociously chic-reminders. If I have a daughter in the future, I plan on including "Tiger" as a memento in her name. That way, she will never forget who she is...nor will anyone else.
Good luck wrapping up your goals for June 1st this week! I believe in you...but you have to believe, too, in order for this miracle-thing to work. Think of this as your reminder to do just that.