We have all heard the phrase "hurt people hurt people" -- and as much as that is a real thing, I believe it goes deeper than that.
The truth is we are all hurting. We hurt in different ways, most times, in ways we are not even aware of. The hardest truth is that we tend to damage the ones we love the most more than anyone else.
We don't do it on purpose, but we hurt them in the many ways we haven't healed ourselves.
The clearest example of that is the parent-child relationship. Almost every parent from my generation that I know is actively working on not repeating the patterns that marked them as kids. The biggest guidance on how to raise our kids is to not repeat the mistakes our parents made.
We have this internal duty to give our children a much more loving, understanding, and open-minded space to grow than the one we had as kids. And that is a beautiful thing.
However, there is a lot more in the path of healing than wanting to be better than the generation that preceded us -- especially because our healing journeys go beyond being parents.
As I mentioned at the beginning, we hurt those we love the most, and if it's not our kids, we are hurting our significant others, our closest friends, our coworkers, and our extended families.
The Role of Fear
We hurt others in every single way we haven't learned to love ourselves and overcome our fears. When we give our own fears agency or power over our choices, we are allowing those fears to propagate and move to the next person.
Fear is the single most destructive emotion available to human beings. Fear is what keeps us small, contained, and unable to see ourselves in the light of what we can achieve.
Fear tells our subconscious that others are better than us. Fear turns into anger, which turns into hate, which turns us against each other.
Fobias incapacitate us from helping ourselves -- which as a consequence, prevent us from showing up for others at our full capacity.
And when others see that in us, it gives them reason to believe in those fears as well. Fear propagates like a virus and kills the most important driver of growth: our self-sufficiency.
The ripple effect of fear is undeniable. When we're trapped in its grip, not only do we shortchange ourselves, but we risk shortchanging those around us too.
The bottom line? Fear keeps us small. It binds us, prevents us from reaching our true potential, and blinds us to our true selves. And in doing so, it has this sneaky way of affecting those we love most.
Brene Brown’s Game-Changer
Ever come across something that just sticks in your brain? For me, it was this insight from Brene Brown: "We can only love others to the capacity that we love ourselves." Think about that for a second. It’s deeper than it sounds. It’s a profound truth about our internal reservoir of love. If we're running low on self-love, it affects the quality and depth of love we can offer to others. It's like trying to fill someone else's glass from an almost empty pitcher. Without that deep, foundational love for ourselves, our connections with others can only go so far.
I believe healing our fears, especially those fears that stop us in our tracks and make us feel small and not fit for the task at hand is the most beautiful thing we can do for others.
Healing and Compassion: Doing the Inner Work
Mending our internal wounds -- our fear of rejection, our fear of judgment, our fear of loss, and our fear of insecurity -- leads us to a much more fulfilling life. It leads us to recognize in ourselves the many ways we've been hurt and give ourselves the love that is necessary to overcome that pain.
As we grapple with these fears and their fallout, the journey to healing begins. It's not a simple path. But it's in addressing these internal wounds that something magical happens: our perspective shifts. Instead of just being wrapped up in our own struggles, we start seeing beyond, recognizing that others too bear their own burdens, many strikingly similar to our own. This newfound awareness? It's the essence of compassion.
Compassion isn't feeling bad for someone; it's understanding our shared human experience, and acknowledging that we're all cut from the same cloth. Compassion is the opposite side of the spectrum of fear. Compassion, starting with self-compassion, allows us to see ourselves in a new light. We no longer need to have external outcomes or accomplishments to feel worthy of love and belonging.
Superpower Unleashed: Compassion in Action
There's a transformative beauty in compassion, starting with how we view ourselves. This newfound self-acceptance leads to an important discovery: we no longer need to bend over backward trying to people-please or seek constant validation. Why? Because we begin to provide for ourselves the very love and belonging we once sought from others.
This self-understanding doesn't just stop at our own reflection; it extends outwards. As we look around, we start to truly see others—not just their exteriors but their journeys, their struggles, their stories. We see ourselves in them. This recognition builds bridges, tearing down walls of division—whether they’re walls of race, gender, or any societal construct.
Operating from this space of genuine compassion, the urge to divide, to label, to judge falls away. Instead, there’s an overwhelming desire to connect, to understand, and to share. We not only give ourselves the love we've been craving but also extend that love freely, fostering deeper, more genuine connections. In this realm, those old habits of division and misunderstanding don't stand a chance.
Seeing the World Anew
When we start this journey of self-love and compassion, there's an unmistakable shift in how we experience the world. With a heart full of self-understanding and compassion, the landscape of our interactions changes dramatically. We no longer navigate life with a void, seeking validation or love, because we've already filled that void ourselves. It's a game-changer. The result? We're less likely to hurt others, not because we're consciously trying, but because our actions stem from a place of completeness. When we're fulfilled, the love we share is genuine, not out of need, but out of abundance. It's about sharing the light we've found within and guiding others to find theirs.
The Heart of Healing
In the tapestry of life, with its myriad of interactions, emotions, and challenges, one thread stands out as paramount: healing. Our journey, replete with its highs and lows, always circles back to this essential process. Healing isn't just about mending what's broken; it's about rediscovering our worth, reclaiming our joy, and reshaping our interactions.
When we invest in our own healing, we don't just elevate ourselves. We lift up everyone around us, radiating positive change. It’s a ripple effect. Healing one wound can prevent countless others, not just in our lives but in the lives of those we touch.
So, as we reflect on our path forward, the question isn’t just about how we navigate our challenges but how dedicated we are to this profound journey of healing. In embracing healing, we don't just change a part of our story; we have the potential to rewrite the entire narrative, not only for ourselves but for generations to come.