When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.

Human beings can bravely face an unknown enemy but crumble when a loved one disappoints them.

Humans long for connection with others. That is why Tom Hanks’s character forms a deep bond with a volleyball (which he names Wilson) when he is shipwrecked in an island. The need for connection is the reason humans forge relationship with others.

This longing for human connection has strings attached. It lends itself to heartbreak. Not just in romantic relationships – any close person can break our heart.

In spite of reading Swamiji’s teachings, in spite of reading several books, in spite of reading the scriptures, I still find myself being hurt by loved ones. The good news is that I get over the hurt sooner these days. But the fact that I get hurt in the first place concerns me. It is not a good idea to let other people hurt me.

Don’t put the keys to your happiness in other people’s pockets. – Swami Chinmayananda

I find that intellectually reasoning about right actions helps me take small steps in the right direction. Intellectually reasoning about the right thing is not a strategy that will appeal to everyone. For some, intellectually reasoning about action means detaching from reality – they therefore deem it impractical. For others, intellectual reasoning gives the illusion that they can deal with hurt, but find themselves incapable of doing so when someone delivers a blow. I get it. We are all made differently. I find that right reasoning (usually) takes me a step forward, even if it doesn’t take me immediately to the finish line. 

With this said, here are some ways of reasoning about hurt that I’m hoping will help me cope with hurt.

1 – It is a Reminder About the Nature of the World

Anityam Asukham Lokam – Bhagavad Gita 9.33
The world is impermenant and filled with sorrows

When things go well, I get lulled into complacency. When someone hurts me, they remind me what life is. They remind me about the nature of the world. Which is asukham.

In His commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Swami Chinmayananda says that expecting joy from the world is like eating a green chili and expecting it to be sweet. Not going to happen. Indeed, we see people going through unspeakable sufferings. That is the nature of the world.

And I just got a reminder – I need to be thanking the person who hurt me for giving the golden reminder – ‘Anityam Asukham Lokam’.

2 – Is There Any Law Against Close People Hurting Me?   

My Dad asked me this question.

People hurt me. They were unjust with me. Is there any law against it?

It it written in any handbook that they have to be kind to me?

3 – The Hurt Usually Accompanies Disrespect. Which is Good News(!)

Swamiji gave a formula for liberation in this post

Give up the pursuit of respect and I promise you will be liberated in this very lifetime. – Om Swami

“I would love for you to show me just a semblance of respect.” “All I am asking is for an iota of respect.” 

I’ve made statements of this kind. I’m not proud to say that I made these statements even after reading Swamiji’s post on disrespect. Ravi Trivedi asked here if I am doing enough to progress on the path to liberation. I should do better – I should wholeheartedly make peace with disrespect. Which in turn means making peace with the hurt. 

4 – If I Didn’t Have Ego, I Wouldn’t Get Hurt

A person went to Ramana Maharishi and said “I am experiencing problems.” Ramana Maharishi said “Who is experiencing problems?”

The person said “Me, Ramesh”. Ramana Maharishi said “Ramesh is your name. Who are you?”

A bewildered Ramesh said “I am an engineer from Chennai, the son of Suresh.” Ramana Maharishi countered, “I didn’t ask your place of residence or your lineage. Who are you?”

The exasperated Ramesh now said “I am my body.” Ramana Maharishi said “Your body will be burned one day. Who are you?” Ramesh, now utterly perplexed, replied, “I am the mind.”

Ramana Maharishi said “Your mind keeps changing all the time. Who are you?”

Ramesh now forgot what his original problems were!

The limited ego, the small ‘i’ experiences hurt. The Vivekachudamani says that just as the presence of a drop of poison in the body will kill a person, the same way the presence of the slightest amount of ego will prevent liberation.

Brushing aside the hurt is a small step towards giving up ego.

5 – The Moments That I am Experiencing Hurt, I am Not Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude and hurt cannot coexist in the same moment. 

They can exist a few moments apart, sure, but never at the same moment. When I am experiencing hurt, in that moment I’m not grateful for the good in my life. 

Gratitude is a powerful antidote to almost any negative quality. The course of action, then, is to practice gratitude on steroids.

6 – It Is a Chance to Progress Spiritually

We pay money to take practice tests. Cricket players pay money for a session of nets practice. We hire coaches to help practice skills.

Someone hurting us is an opportunity to practice spirituality. Free of cost. 

If I can take the hurt in stride, it is verily spiritual progress. And I want to progress spiritually.

7 – The Hurt is Law of Karma Taking Its Course

In this post, Swamiji mentions how difficult people are merely messengers delivering our karmic parcels.

Accepting this fact can help make peace with the hurt. 

My thanks to Vikas M for inspiring this article.

Image Credit: Alexandra Mirghes from Unsplash