Someone asked me an interesting question the other day. She said, “Why is it that we get hurt easily but it takes forever to get healed? Even in an old relationship, the other person can hurt our feelings and sentiments in practically no time whereas it takes an eternity to get over them?”
It’s worth thinking about. Why is healing harder than hurting? Why is feeling pain easier than forgiving or forgetting? After all, who wouldn’t want to forget their pain? If everyone could forgive and move on, they probably would. But, they can’t. Why?
Actually, hurting appears prompt and easy but that’s not really the case. Before one is hurt, one has already made a significant investment of time, energy, emotions, sentiments and feelings. The more time you’ve spent with someone, the more they can hurt you. An experience of road rage is unlikely to cause you as much damage as a heated argument with the one you love, for example. If an unknown driver yells at you, you won’t feel as hurt as when your partner shouts at you. That’s because unlike with the driver, there’s a prior emotional connection with your partner.
When their behavior or their conduct doesn’t match their role, it shocks you, it hurts you. How can the person who loves you put you through this, you wonder. The longer you’ve spent time with someone, the more memories. The more the number of memories, the greater your emotional investment. And, the more vested you are, the more they can hurt you. But why does healing take longer, you may ask? In answer, let me share with you an incident from the life of Mulla Nasrudin.
The whole village knew that Mulla lived alone but every evening his servant was seen taking two glasses of wine into Mulla’s room. This intrigued them.
“Mulla, you live alone and you drink alone,” one said, “but, every evening, why does your servant carry two glasses to your room? For whom is the second glass?”
Mulla chuckled. “You see, after I drink a glass of wine, I’m not the same person anymore. I’m a different person altogether. Don’t you think it’s my duty then to be a good host and offer a glass of wine to the new person?”
In this joke is quietly hiding the most profound answer. When someone hurts you, they break you. You are no longer the same old person. Something within changes. There is no real healing happening to the old person. Rather, in the name of healing you are rebuilding yourself. You are not just rebuilding the old you, you are now emerging as the new you. It is for this reason that each failed relationship can hurt you as much as the last one. If you have experienced hurt in a dysfunctional or broken relationship, it’s not that the grief has made you stronger and the next time you won’t feel as hurt. No. Even next time, in similar circumstances with a different person, the pain will be just as great, if not greater.
Every event in life changes you a little, some can completely break you. But, often we don’t have the option to remain broken. We have to pick ourselves up and rebuild. The truth is, the old you never comes back. What happens when a wound is healed? New flesh and new layers of skin are formed, right? This is how any injury heals. The body is old, the wound is old, but new skin is made. Similarly, when you are hurt, you may have the same body and the same mind, but a new you is building inside. This is an organic process and it takes time.
I once read a quote by Tom Wilson, “Wisdom doesn’t always come with age. Sometimes, age shows up just by itself.” Just because the person in front is in an adult body it’s no guarantee he will behave like one. There will always be people around you who will have an opinion about you. They may say things to you that you may not like, they may take you or your offerings for granted, they may criticize you. Let’s assume they won’t change. Are you going to let them keep hurting you?
It’s not a good idea — to let others hurt you. Because every time they do, a little bit of you is lost. You have as much right to live, to be, to laugh, to have as much freedom as anyone else. If you are not going to protect yourself, if you are repeatedly hurt before you are healed, bit-by-bit this life will start to feel like a big burden, a drag. Don’t do that to yourself.
This life is a beautiful song; find your voice.