So the post “How to stop hurting” has been one of my popular posts in the past. I don’t really understand why. Funny enough, reading it again makes me realize that I sorta disagree with myself. Nowadays, I am more in the team of ‘care less to stop hurting’. What happened? Life happened.
But I realized the reason why a lot of people land on that post because they simply ask Dr. Google, “How to stop hurting.” I guess the world is filled with pain, and our ability to feel pain makes us normal. Just a disclaimer before I proceed, I’m not talking about grief and the sort of pain one goes through after they lose a loved one. I’m talking about the low to medium sort of pain that happens when someone else hurts you intentionally or not. I’m also not talking about self-inflicted pain. If you’re suffering from that, then seek professional help. So how to stop hurting?
1) Understand why you’re hurting. Then ask why five more times. Even though this is a necessary step, it’s mostly the one ignored. A lot of times we think we know why we’re hurting, but we don’t. For instance, we might feel pain because of something somebody did to us, but if we ask why five times and dig deep into the crux of the matter, we discover that the real reason we’re hurting is because of something within us; maybe it’s our wounded ego or some unrealistic expectation. We’ve mentioned it before; expectations usually lead to disappointments, so while setting expectations, the two parties need to be aware of them. Then if the other party breaks a promise or disappoints you in some way, get hurt. Until then it’s really your fault your expectations were too high.
Deconstructing the situation with a friend who can provide a different perspective might help. This is not the time to turn to your homie who would agree with everything you say or do. You need someone more brutally honest to help you answer the question, “Am I right to get hurt?”
A lot of times why people hurt is because they have very vivid imaginations, and they attach meaning from other people’s words and actions. Be it through inference or extrapolation or maybe poor vision, the day they realize that the meaning they’ve attached has no real place in reality, they end up getting hurt at the (usually clueless) person. Being clear about the facts is sometimes necessary. Ask yourself, Real or Not Real? What is true, what is false? Am I justified?
2) After establishing that your hurt is justified, allow yourself to express it. I don’t know what about society that says that guys shouldn’t cry. I’ve discussed it earlier in “Men vs. women who should cry more”. I know how tempting it is to repress your feelings (girls and guys), but repressed feelings are just like repressed thoughts (the famous white bear study in psychology); the more you try to repress your feelings, the worse it gets in the long-run. Sometimes repressed feelings can manifest themselves in destructive ways. At other times, they only lead to you spending time and emotional energy on something for longer than you should.
So as John Green writes, “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”
That’s what I personally call the calorific value of pain. You just have to let the pain run its course, you need to feel it, express it, give it time if you have to. One useful thing you can do with pain is to use it in your creative works. Whether you write or paint, pain can be a very powerful driving force for action. So make use of it.
3) Learn the lesson attached to it (if applicable). Sometimes painful situations such as these show us something that is wrong with us. It’s not always ‘them’ who are wrong, even though we’d like to think it that way. So if it guides us to a character flaw we have that needs to be removed then maybe we need to work on that. But sometimes there is nothing enlightening about these situations. Someone wrongs us, we feel pain. It sucks. Life goes on. So…
4) Move on. No, really, really move on. A lot of times, we think we are over that painful incident, when we really are not. Whether it’s through the dominos effect or the trickle effect, the situation can change us. It can lead to something that leads something that leads to something that ends up with us changing in a big way. The trickle effect is when ideas and beliefs derived from the situation infiltrate themselves into our lives more subtly so we see others differently, or we see ourselves differently. Pain affects us, and maybe that’s where its power lies and maybe that’s why we tend to fear it and avoid it. But is it always a bad thing?
Moving on just means putting one step in front of the other, busying ourselves in things that take our mind away from the source of the pain. Oh yeah, that would help too; to physically move away from the source of the pain.
Finally, one thing that helps is to fill our lives with hope again. Life is made up of ups and downs. We are all very aware of that. Yet why is it easy for us to rapidly forget the ups and feel entrapped in the downs?
So this is a requested note. A friend of mine asked me to write about forgiveness. Is it better to forgive and forget, forgive but not forget, or neither forgive nor forget?
Now I’ve written on revenge and how I personally find the task energy-consuming and pointless since you could have invested that same energy on advancing your own life. Also, once you’re done with your revenge it doesn’t make you feel any better. But that post did not delve deep into the topic of forgiveness.
It is well known that forgiveness is the best way to go but it isn’t easy to do. In general I was born with an inclination towards holding a grudge. So my Modus Operandi (MO 1.0) was neither to forget nor to forgive. But then the more pain you harbor the more you realize you’re hurting only one person; yourself. The person who has hurt you might not even know what they did (or did not do) or they might know but not care. So basically I upgraded to MO 2.0 to forgive but not forget. The thing is it isn’t really easy especially when you feel someone has done you injustice and then moved on like they did nothing wrong. But as my friend is, if we forgive and not forget then we remember the incident and get hurt all over again so how does it even work? I told her, that’s true but it is really hard to wipe a memory from your existence especially if it is something that has been woven into the fabric of your psyche and basically shaped you. So MO 3.0 is to forgive, not forget the incident but remember the fact that you’ve forgiven them.
Also don’t delve in the bitterness. As I said yesterday, don’t get stuck in the past and ruminate over it. Put one step in front of the other and move on.
As much as I claim that MO 3.0 works, there are processes I personally put into place not to reach the stage of getting hurt in the first place. Some are as follows;
1) Don’t take the things that people do personally. It really is not about you as much as it is about them and their own perceptions
2) Try to see things from their point of view. Just because something is important to us doesn’t mean it’s important to them
3) Rise above the pettiness. This is something you would experience a lot if you try to pave a way of your own and you end up with so many criticizes and haters.
Also there is an interesting story I heard recently that could help. When I was watching one of the news segments on the westgate victims, the segment ended with this shell-shocked man who went to search for his father. In the end he found him but he was dead. The reporter asked, “What are your thoughts?”
He said something like, There’s nothing we can do about it. The only thing we can do is forgive them and leave it to God.
Basically our version of it is
وكلت أمري إلى الله
And I guess that’s all I can say about the topic. This is an unedited post I uploaded from my phone (in a wedding) so don’t mind any mistakes.
When I hear someone saying “She’s the love of my life,” the first thing I imagine is an eighty-year old couple sitting at the back deck on rocking chairs, watching the sun set and drinking hot tea, not a newly formed couple. How do you know things might not change? Nowadays love is a word that is being overused a lot. Besides that, things and circumstances change so that the intensity of love could change, and it’s only if that love endures so many experiences could someone crown another with the “love of my life” title. So in my opinion, love is not defined as love unless it’s gone through many tests and remained unscathed. Love is not a word, it’s represented by a series of mawaqif (or situations not the parking space) in which someone wouldn’t translate it as being anything else other than love.
For instance, in a famous experiment, a group of professional posted “What does love mean?” to a group of children, and these are some of their answers.
1) “When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca – age 8
2) Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7
Or it’s someone going to visit his wife at an elderly center and talking to her everyday even when she doesn’t remember who he is because of Alzheimer’s.
So yeah, it’s a series of mawaqif and not a word to be thrown just because it’s what the girl wants to hear. So going back to the “love of my life” description. A more accurate phrase could be “she’s the love of my life at the moment (or until now)”. Can you imagine a guy telling a girl that? That would totally drive her crazy and have her follow him with a frying pan to his head. “What do you mean until now?”
*Sorry honey, I’m just trying to be accurate because I don’t know what tomorrow might bring*
So yeah, of course, everybody plays it safe by omitting those extra words, “at the moment – or until now”. But then let’s say it doesn’t work out as we discussed earlier in Marriages that don’t last. The girl will be hung up on, “But he said that I was the love of his life!”
*if he had said, you’re the love of my life until now, you would have followed him with a frying pan, what to do?*
Just my opinion on the matter not that I’m an expert in the topic being a cynic and all…
I guess that’s just something that’s been on my mind today.
Love is neither appreciated in its complete presence
Nor complete absence
But rather in its lack of presence
The empty slot in the shelf full of books
The clean square in a thick layer of dust
Where a photograph once was
The empty vase where once stood a rose
That drooped and wilted with time
It’s ironic that the ones who appreciate love the most
Are those who have just lost it
P.S. According to Wikipedia Negative Space in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image.