Elvis Presley sang, “Wise men say only fools rush in, but I can’t help falling in love with you.”
Well, if Elvis and wise men are to believed, I have been a fool on many occasions.
So keen have I been to form a romantic relationship, to find the one, my partner, friend and “soul mate,” that many a time I have rushed in like a bull in a china shop. Before now, I have professed my love for practically complete strangers both in person and online.
The upshot of all this “rushing in” and giving my heart away far too readily, deeply and quickly to others, is that I have been hurt many times. In my experience, being too intense too early on often attracts people who enjoy feeding off of the attention but have no intention on following up on the things they say, or people who are simply unsure of what they want.
This leads to obvious heartache and hurt when after a few weeks or even days, they inevitably confess a complete change of heart.
It is not my purpose to speak about the reasons people rush in (although it is a subject I am interested in) or to offer any advice on how we can avoid doing so. Rather, this is simply my story of how I learned to deal with all the hurt which I perceived was being inflicted upon me by others.
And I shall begin with my latest episode:
I first encountered “This is definitely the girl for me #2338” online. She had posted on a yoga forum asking for help finding accommodation in London as well as expressing an interest in meeting up with like-minded people. I replied to her and it wasn’t long before we were speaking about all kinds of things, from the safety of particular boroughs in London, to enlightenment and yoni (Sanskrit for vagina) massages. We had an instant and great rapport. By the second day she was already calling me her “heart husband” and I’m pretty sure I’d promised her I’d walk the earth to meet her or buy her a helicopter or something. By the third day, we were sexting.
You get the picture.
To cut a long story short: I arranged for her to move into my uncle’s place in London. We met. We got on great. I told her I loved her. She whispered sweet nothings. We made love for a few days. We made plans for the future. She (evidently) had a change of heart on day four. Ignored me. And eventually told me it was over.
The pain was intense. The hurt was numbing. Why had I let myself be played like this? How had I not seen that I was rushing in (again)? Why had she not thought things through a bit more before inviting me into her world and bed? Was she really this emotionally confused? Was she really this far removed from the truth in her heart? Could she really have been this dishonest with me?
The next day I sat at home thinking. I thought about how we had met. I thought about my part in what had happened. I stopped blaming her and tried to get to the bottom of why this had occurred, why I was hurting and why people hurt one another. I feel as though I made great sense of it all and in doing so the hurt was released and I was able to move on, feeling much better about myself and the road ahead. I hope my discoveries might benefit others and for this reason I have chosen to share them here.
Five Things To Remember When Someone Hurts Us
1. Nobody has hurt us. We have hurt us. Someone may have acted in a way that has momentarily disrupted our inner-peace, but regaining and maintaining it is our job. Taking responsibility for our emotions empowers us and gives us control over our own evolution.
2. We must not take it personally. This could have happened to anyone, and the chances are, it does on a daily basis. When we have a painful encounter it is easy to believe the other person has set out to hurt us specifically. The truth is, if they are hurting others, it is because they are also in pain. There is truth in the old adage: “Hurt people, hurt people.” If it was not us it would be somebody else. It is quite likely that the person who was hurting us is now somewhere else, continuing their cycle of harming themselves and others.
3. Their dishonesty or lack of integrity does not reflect a desire to do us harm. It actually reflects a lack of integrity to themselves and to their own heart. When somebody is dishonest to others, they must first be dishonest with themselves. Remembering this cultivates compassion and shifts the focus away from us and a victim mentality.
4. Believe it or not, most people just want to feel loved and to love others back. Sadly, the average person has no idea that the boundless love they seek is contained within, so they experience a sense of lacking. There is a misunderstanding that this lacking can be fulfilled through external measures. Therefore, the inevitable failure of this pursuit brings with it an array of unwanted emotions, which often leads people to behave in hurtful ways.
5. When we enter any kind of relationship, we often begin writing a mental story about how we wish it to unfold. This story can even become a contract of sorts, which we bind the other person to without them even knowing. The problem is, most people’s stories for the future differ and therefore the contracts differ too. Once this mismatch of expectations becomes clear, we feel as though our contracts are not being adhered to as stipulated and that the other party is not meeting their contractual obligations.
The fact is, no contracts ever existed nor indeed were agreed to. It is easy to become attached to our story and attempt to force it upon others. Acknowledging that people are free to choose as they please helps to develop an acceptance for what is.
Michael Stipe sang “Everybody hurts, sometimes.”
And he was right. Some more than others true but all of us sometimes. I believe knowing what I know now, those times will be less frequent and less painful. I hope the same for you too.
We may not be able to control the things that happen to us in life, but we can take control of how we respond to them.
So remember those five things the next time you believe yourself hurt by another. And also remember the words of our wonderful pop singers. With the exception perhaps of the Cheeky Girls.
Author: Peter Moore
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Pierre Willemin/Flickr