When good people experience bad things

Updated: 2011-07-21 16:22

By Huang Shuo (chinadaily.com.cn)

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In daily life, many of us may experience situations where we feel robbed, slandered, misunderstood, cheated, or simply jerked around by life. The end result may be the loss of a job, a friend, a love interest, a business deal, or the creation of a rift between family members. The pain we feel is very real, very deep, and very private. Often it's impossible for people around us to understand the scope, or the depth, of the pain we carry as a result of the emotional wounding we’ve experienced.

What shall we do when life really hurts? There are varying degrees of pain we often feel in response to situations inflicted upon us by other people. Some levels of pain are small, and we have the ability to let the situation roll off our back, letting us carry on in life as if nothing happened. For some, there are situations where the wound is so deep, we find ourselves crippled by it, not knowing how to get out from under the pain. It's in the midst of surrounding, choking pain that many people get bogged down by not knowing what to do, or how to cope.

Through the course of my own painful experiences, I have learned and identified key factors that can help us deal with life’s pain. Other people's list may include additional points or comments, but I believe there are a small few steps we must all take in dealing with life's hurts.

In the first place, privately admit to yourselves, you've been hurt! Own it. Embrace it. Every time we lose something of value, we will enter a grieving process. Recognize this and be honest about it. It's important to start at a place of honesty, recognizing your pain for what it is, a grieving process. This process may seem insignificant, but for many there is tremendous difficulty in admitting, "I am feeling really hurt by this situation, and as a result, I've lost something very precious to me."

Second, we need to forgive our offender. Understand, that by forgiving our offender, we are not letting him or her off the hook as far as consequences are concerned. By forgiving, we’re letting our self off the hook. We're giving up any motivation or thought of revenge. When a person refuses to forgive, they choose to carry the pain, the anger, the bitterness, of the situation around with them every minute of the day and night. To a person who doesn't forgive, the situation becomes an emotional wound that festers with compounding or secondary emotional infection. Until we forgive our offender, our offender ends up owning our emotions.

Many people have a poor understanding of what forgiveness is. For those who find themselves in this position, a simple Internet search for "Understanding Forgiveness" will produce many good articles and aids on this subject.

The third step in the process of responding to life's deep hurts is to find a "safe friend" and share your pain with them. We all have friends in our lives, but what is meant by the term "safe friend"? "Safe friends" are friends who listen to you, are empathetic, can advise you honestly, but the most important quality in a "safe friend" is the person’s ability to respect and maintain confidentiality. Not all friends are "safe friends". "Safe friends" are often few and far between. "Safe friends" can be a current friend, a counselor, a priest, a therapist, a law enforcement officer, a lawyer, someone who's been through a similar situation, or a person recommended to you by a friend.

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