There are some themes that just keep coming up for me. I hear people talking about the hurt in their lives. Well, they don’t actually name it as hurt, often as grievances they hold against others around them or toward people in their families. Why do we hold firm to the things that in the past have been affronts to us? It’s as if we want the offending person to do the mending work and then that leaves us justified in being angry in the first place.
Being angry and offended by others is a way of keeping the hurt alive. In fact it’s a perfect way of never having to look at our own part in difficulties when things go wrong. Holding a firm position and taking a ‘holier than thou’ position is usually a sign that the issue will never be resolved. In fact, to hold this position is to assume that you are right and the other person is absolutely wrong. Nothing can be further from the truth.
The old saying about ‘there are always two sides to any story’ is, I believe a fair statement. In families for instance, there can be hugely differing views between how events were played out and who said what and who did what. Most of us have different perspectives to those around us relating to certain events and circumstances. Somewhere in the middle there is a position that may resemble reality, I suspect.
It’s how we manage these differences that matter. Generosity and goodwill play big roles in families being able to resolve matters that are upsetting or even have potential for family members to become estranged from each other. I think it’s fair to say that some families have greater capacity to work through tough times whilst other families have a fragility or lack the will and generosity to put the more important aim of family harmony to the forefront. It’s well-known that some families and individuals have learned thematic behaviours that result in holding onto hurts which can result in certain family members being set aside and estranged.
Letting go or being able to loosen the ties to how many hurts are on the hurt list is a necessity to being able to move forward. The person who holds on to past differences is punishing themselves more than the family member they are cross with. Festering hurts and old grudges are poison to ongoing health and life happiness. We all know friends and relatives who live their lives complaining and degrading others in order to justify their own positions. Letting go of the toxic habit of holding grudge lists and resentments can free us from ongoing unhappiness. However, the will to do so, takes generosity and good will.
Someone one said, ‘Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?’ I want to be happy! This post is a good reminder to let go and choose happiness!
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Thank you, a great way to put it.
While I think there is always merit in finding ways to move forward and leave hurt behind and for this I like the writings of Stephanie Dowrick whose essay on forgiveness identifies that forgiveness is for us not the offender, there is a need however, for caution at times. We are hurt by our anger and by holding on or keeping score of grievances, but we are equally hurt by ignoring the lessons of the past and failing to put in place appropriate boundaries around those who continue to offend, insult, take advantage and abuse us.
Yes, you are correct Fran. We do have to protect ourselves form obvious abuse and aggressive behaviours. Also, I’m not suggesting that we leave hurt behind us, that would be simplistic. What I was trying to suggest (clumsily maybe) that some times we (I’m guilty of it) continue to hold onto grievances and in fact add to them along the way, only to feel unhappy. I feel better when I can (after some time) let go of some hurts, obviously not all. Maybe I’m wrong about this. Heather