this is one of my favorite postsecret cards that i’ve ever read.
every single person in the world has been hurt. most of them are probably still hurting.
the reason we can’t always tell is because everyone reacts to it differently.
of every possible way i could think of, i found that each falls into one of three boxes.
some people hide.
these are the ones who never want to get hurt again, and the only way to do that is to never ever let anyone in again.
…with walls around our weakness, and smiles that hide our pain.
we hide because we are afraid. we have been wounded, and wounded deeply…to hide means to remain safe, to hurt less.—stasi eldredge
i don’t mean just sitting and wallowing in the hurt that they feel. i mean inflicting some kind of hurt on other people, or possibly themselves. seeing something else hurt, even if it isn’t in the same way that they’ve been hurt, temporarily makes their own hurt okay to them.
kids who’ve been beaten push other kids on the playground.
middle school girls who’ve had nothing but terrible things said to them at home will say terrible things to other girls.
dancers who are told every day by their teachers that they’re fat will start telling themselves they’re fat and trying to fix it by starving themselves.
teenagers who constantly hear that they deserve to be punished will start cutting themselves.
it’s not always that purposeful though. some people don’t even realize what they’re doing or that it’s hurting anyone. people who grew up never seeing compassion in their families seem insensitive to everyone else’s feelings because they were never taught to care. kids who only hear negative talk at home never say anything nice to other kids because they don’t know how to notice anything in people besides faults. i’m sarcastic and blunt when i talk about serious things because i was indirectly taught to never show when things bother me.*
whether it’s purposeful or just out of an invisible habit, it doesn’t fix things in the end.
you spend your time trying to even the score, and you’ve got it in your head that you deserve a lot more.
but some help.
they take their hurt and use it to push them to help other hurting people. they pass on the hope they’ve found and the grace they’ve been shown. they call back into the dark tunnel they’ve escaped from to save the people who are still stuck in it.
this is where i say i’ve had enough, and no one should ever feel the way that i feel now.
in most cases, no one stays in one category forever.
there’s a lot of ways you might do a combination of all three throughout your life. a few of endless possible examples:
1. hide-get sick of hiding and start protecting yourself by hurting people instead-realize how much it hurts to see people hurt like you-start helping people instead.
2. hurt as many people as you can-realize this isn’t fixing anything and start hiding so you don’t have to deal with it all-get sick of hiding but know that hurting isn’t the answer-start helping.
3. try to help everyone-fail at it because you’re still hurting too much to know how to help-hide because you don’t know what else to do-with time after you’ve been helped, become able to actually help other people.
the list could go on, but i don’t feel like thinking of more, and you probably get the gist and don’t feel like reading more. if you think of some of your own, tell me!
in order to get out of either negative stage(hiding or hurting), and into the positive stage(helping), something needs to happen first. lucky for me and my semi-obnoxious alliteration, it also happens to start with an H:
you have to heal.
you can’t come out of hiding if you have no idea what to do out in the open.
you can’t stop hurting people if you don’t know what else to do with your hurt.
and even in scenario 3, where the first thing the hurt person does is try to help people, no good will come of anything until you’ve started to get your own wound stitched up.
i know you’ll help us when you’re feeling better, and we realize that it might not be for a long, long time…
so, if you’ve made it this far, or if you’ve scrolled to the bottom because you don’t have time to read all my thoughts, here’s a more easily processable,** thoughts-for-the-road version of everything i just said.
everyone’s been hurt.
everyone deals with it differently.
everyone needs grace.
everyone can heal.
everyone can help.
i’m ready to suffer and i’m ready to hope.
*serious things meaning cancer, anorexia, etc. for the longest time, i wasn’t even aware that i did that, much less that there was anything wrong with it; it’s just the coping mechanism i’ve used all my life. something in my head believes that if i act like it’s not as bad as it is, eventually it won’t feel that way to me anymore. thankfully someone loved me enough a few years ago to explain to me that it wasn’t a good thing and i needed to stop; i haven’t yet broken the habit, but i do notice when i do it and jump to apologize and explain myself at a mile a minute as soon as i realize.
**WHOA that’s a real word! who knew?