It’s probably not in the forefront of your mind. You don’t walk around thinking that you’re a terrible person. It’s in those quiet moments when you let yourself (and others) down. You can’t believe that you did it again. Why do you do those things? Why can’t you keep your cool? Why aren’t you a better wife, husband, mother, father, etc.? People think you have it all together and yet you know it’s all a ruse. I mean, you’re not the worst…but you could be so much better.
Granted, there are some of you that KNOW I’m not talking to you. It’s everyone else that’s the problem. If they could just get it together your life would be simple. Why do they make life so hard? Why can’t everyone just be like you? Why do some people just make their life, and yours as a result, so complicated?
Then there’s everyone else. They’re the reason both of the above groups are disgruntled and, well, hurt. They are selfish. They are abusive. They are manipulative. They create the crap that we all have to wade through. They range from the little old lady that always needs something from everyone to the one that commits violent crime that wrecks our world.
Let me assure you, you are NOT a bad person. However, neither are they.
Before you stop reading and call me soft and delusional by giving me examples of horrific crimes and tragedies let’s start with you. What is it about you that makes you feel bad about yourself? Is it the way you treat others? Is it a bad habit that nags at you? Is it something you wish was different about you that you just can’t change? Is it what keeps you up at night with worry? Is it even your sense of self worth?
It all comes down to hurts. Emotionally we are hurt when an emotional need that we have is either not met or taken from us. This applies both in an individual moment/example and over time. If a wild boar attacks you in your front yard you will have been hurt in your need for security. If your parents kept leaving you home alone every time Nickelback came to town when your were a child you also have a need for security.
Hurts cause us to react in up to four different ways. It leads to anger, fear, guilt, and self-condemnation. It is out of those four (and we predominantly reside in one of them though we can experience all of them) that we feel/act in a way that makes us feel like a bad person. If we don’t recognize AND heal those hurts through comfort, we are going to cycle through these emotions as new circumstances trigger past said hurts.
It’s the same for those who hurt us. Outside of true mental psychosis (which are most often brought about by hurts) these actions are a result of one of the above reactions to their own hurts. Do you really think that any psycho killer exists in a world devoid of hurts? Does the cheating wife/husband have a healthy upbringing where all of their emotional needs were met? Do you ever see an episode of “Intervention” or “My 600lb. Life” where there wasn’t chlidhood trauma? No, you haven’t.
Would I dare say this to a grieving mother? Would I say this to a husband who’s wife just left him? Would I dare say this to those in a battered woman’s shelter? No. I would sit and cry with them. I would let them know that they are not alone. I would join them in their emotion. Then, down the road I would (if they asked) let them know this truth as they dealt with their own actions moving forward.
In now way, shape, or form am I excusing these behaviors. I am explaining them. It’s just too easy to say that you or the other is a “bad person.” It causes division and thwarts healing. You are not a bad person. You are hurting. You need healing. You need to not be alone.
I will be exploring more of this as we move forward and looking at how hurts (especially those from earlier in life) impact us today. You are not alone.