Recognizing Pain in Others

rose spot lightFrom youth we all experience & are influenced by certain things that mold our behaviors for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, there are some things we carry around forever despite how much we say we are over them. So today, I want to discuss the importance of recognizing when healing is needed & empathizing with the parts of people that may not have healed yet. Many times we look at people’s behaviors instead of looking at the possible underlying issue that may be a prerequisite for their behavior. Though we should not be open to mistreatment the truth is; hurt people, hurt people. They need healing just as much as we do.

I will use myself as an example. I was an adolescent that was severely misunderstood. In retrospect, I do know that I am accountable for the way that people viewed me. When I started highschool I was severely aggressive & untrusting. My behavior was an example for how I was feeling inside. I was taken from an enviornment that taught me to be guarded & aware of my surroundings & placed in a new location that I knew nothing about. I instantly felt like a target. I had friends & I was popular but I expressed myself through negative verbal & physical communication (confrontation). I was tagged as a nice girl with a horrible temper. No one took the time to recognize that, though I did not vocalize it well, something was effecting me. I was scared, untrusting & my world was turned upside down at a time when most social “cliques” have been said to be set in stone. On top of that, I had to learn people all over again. I had to learn who I could trust, who I could not trust & I had to keep learning about myself. In-school suspension was my homeroom & very few teachers actually wanted to take the time to get to know me. Without tagging me as a troubled kid; I was tagged as a troubled kid. Luckily, by the time I graduated, many teachers, despite my flaws, were able to see qualities in myself that I could not see. My entire high school career was a journey on finding myself & evolving past the person that walked through those doors that first day, 3 years prior.

Through my own experience & as I have gotten older;  I have taught myself to identify the necessity of healing in other people; even those in my family. Though I may not know all the dynamics of each situation, I know there is no such thing as a perfect person. I also know that people heal & cope in their own way regardless if the stories look almost the same. For instance, my mother loves a clean house. If we have visitors & the house is not to her standard she will either prefer no visitors or apologize profusely for the home being, what she believes, unkempt (I assure you, it is never that bad). So, if the house truly is a mess, it is a huge indicator to how she may be feeling inside. I have been around her long enough to know this but I would entertain the fact that she likely does not notice this detail about herself. So, if the house is a mess, I know that my mom just may be experiencing something she may not know how to express. So in turn, my own behaviors may change just so that I can alleviate some of what she is feeling like.  I become more gentle & understanding as I have taught myself that this is one of the ways she copes.

In telling you this, I hope you can look at what you consider to be flaws in your loved ones with gentle understanding. Your mother who shops too much or great-aunt who tends to hoard may be using these behaviors to deal with what they feel internally; even if they realize it or not. Be mindful of addictive, aggressive & regressive behaviors in people so that you look at them with empathy, understanding & a little less frustration. We all have our own coping mechanisms that may very well be cumbersome to someone else.  Truth is, we are all healing organisms working to move past things that may have happened in our histories. Despite what that can be, we are not inferior to the things that have happened to us. We are not what happened to us & there is nothing that we can not overcome. We have been taught to live in a world that tells us to get over things & move on. Nothing about simply getting over it is conducive to healing. We need to learn to cope in healthy ways so that we can heal & not pass our pain & unhealthy coping techniques through the generations in our family lines. Healing is possible. Acknowledging that there is pain is appropriate. We are all healing in one way or another & sometimes multiple people on the mission to heal themselves can help heal each other in ways that all parties fail to comprehend. Having someone there who is kind & attempts to understand, can make the world of a difference in the life of someone who is in desperate need of healing. Just be mindful of this as you have your day-to-day encounters. As always, continue to live your best life.

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