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First it hurt, then it helped

My mama used to say, people and life will teach you. I didn’t get it until I got it.

No human is exempt from hurt. At some point in our lives we will be hurt by something or someone.

How were you taught to deal with hurt?

A lot of us were taught to ignore it. If it came from a parent, elder or family member, you dared not speak up. We were taught to turn the other cheek so to speak, and for those of us who learned these methods of dealing grew into adults who avoided conflict and situations where we thought we might be hurt.

In my life, I have dealt with a great deal of hurt, and the majority has come from those closest to me. I used to deal with the hurt by becoming silent, by cowering. I would take it on the chin and keep it pushing. I would never, and I mean never speak up. This gave the impression that whatever happened was okay. Who else has heard, “what you allow, is what will continue?” Truer words have never been spoken! It wasn’t until my 40th birthday that I found my voice, and it was because the layers of unaddressed hurt had bubbled to the surface. This is where the journey started.

It began with a self evaluation and asking myself the following questions;

Why do I become silent after being hurt?

Why don’t I speak up?

What was I afraid of?

Remember the methods of dealing I spoke about? A big part of how I reacted was fear of conflict. Conflict resolution wasn’t something taught in my household. When conflict would arise, it was ignored until it disappeared, but we all know unaddressed conflict doesn’t just go away right? Silence doesn’t keep peace. It becomes the elephant in the room. It begins to manifest as resentment, anger and jadedness.

Another part of how I responded was with my ego because of fear of being vulnerable in the presence of the one who caused the hurt. I believed that vulnerability = weakness because that’s what I was taught. The damage of being taught to be silent when hurt, AND not speaking up for fear of appearing weak is a silly notion.

Today I know the truth, but it took 40 years to learn.

When I turned 40 it was like a switch flipped. I began noticing how I felt when I didn’t address hurt. The unsettling feeling became something I could no longer ignore. It would show up as stomach issues. A clinched jaw. Furrowed brows. Irritation.

There was an incident where someone close to me did something that did not sit well with me, and it wasn’t the first time this happened. I’d usually brush it off and after some time would pass, we’d be back to normal. This time though, I decided to speak up and let them know that their actions were hurtful and I would no longer tolerate it. Now, remember, this was my first time speaking up so my voice was shaky, but the point was understood.

Did the person take it well? No. Did it prevent me from living my life and waking up the next morning? Also no. So why hadn’t I done this before? Crazy how the fear of the unknown, and the stories we create in our heads from things we were taught can be crippling. This is where the hurt began to help, and heal.

I was able to see the role I played in my own suffering. I was able to recognize that what I was taught was causing more harm than good. Instead of ghosting after being hurt, I addressed it in the moment. I was able to see my worth. It freed me and gave me peace. Learning and unlearning has no age limit. The older I get, the clearer my vision becomes and it’s a beautiful thing.

Until next time…🦋

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