Why People Hurt Us


Everyone wants to learn the same  thing from painful situations: how to avoid repeating them. For example, when  you do your best to take care of someone and then that person pushes you away,  you feel unappreciated and disappointed. Or when you expect to be thanked and the opposite  happens or you are yelled at. Or when someone betrays your trust: You expected honesty and instead  experienced dishonesty. The list of painful situations that you can learn about  yourself from is very long, and you have probably experienced many of them.  I’m pretty sure I’ve experienced all of them.
If you treat each of these experiences as a separate, freestanding,  random event in your life, you will continue to be surprised by them and,  eventually, become frustrated.  “Why is this happening to me?” will turn into  “Why is this happening to me again?
These are good questions,  but when you look outside yourself for the answers, you will not find anything  of spiritual value. For example,last summer I opened my heart and my home to a man who seemed perfect.  Months later I discovered that he had lied to me continuously, took a bottle of Xanax, and had no remorse whatsoever for his actions.
Of course, I  learned to do a much better job of due diligence from that painful  experience—checking my gut, verifying what is said actually happened,  It was a lesson that I did not forget, but there was an  even more important lesson that I learned from this painful experience.
After feeling shocked (an experience of a frightened part of my  personality, which is also a not-loving part of my personality) and blaming him  for my emotional pain (also an experience of a frightened part of my  personality) and feeling like a victim, I discovered something completely  surprising, interesting and humbling: In shame and blame—both of which are very  painful to experience, provided that you do not distract yourself with drinking,  eating, shopping, sex, smoking, etc.—I saw this person as someone whose  intention from the beginning was to get the most for himself from our  interactions, and he did.
What I discovered about myself truly jolted me:  I had held the same intention toward him! The very same intention. I  expected him to relieve me of my cold heart, expand  my life and  bring it happiness, and as long as he did that, I would be satisfied. In other  words, my intention was to use him just as his intention was to exploit me.  I didn’t get what I gave….really….and I should have picked up on it.   My real intention did not create the benefits for me that I had envisioned. It was to obtain as much from him as I could emotionally; to show myself I wasn’t too far gone and could love again.  I  intended to love and care, and I created exploitation. It was a big lesson for me to  learn. I am so grateful for it because it taught me to look carefully and  honestly at my intentions, and showed me how powerfully they create my  experiences.
This is how to avoid re-creating painful situations: Take  the time to discover your real intention before you act. If it is to change  someone or the world so that you will feel safe or better about yourself, don’t  act on it, because it is an intention of fear and can create only painful  consequences. If your real intention is to create harmony instead of discord,  cooperation instead of competition, sharing instead of hoarding, and reverence  for life instead of exploitation, act on it, because it is an intention of love  and can create only healthy and wholesome consequences.
When you do  this, you are creating authentic power.

 

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