At some point in our lives, we’ve all been hurt.
Taken advantage of. Lied to. Disrespected. Not appreciated for the things we did for another person in the relationship. Not treated with dignity or respect or any kind of love when things unraveled at the end.
The thing is, none of us is ever immune from being on both sides of the equation. That’s just how life works. We unintentionally break hearts and we have our own hearts broken.
I think most people are doing the best they can in the moment, even when their best, quite frankly, sucks.
So it can be challenging to reach deep inside ourselves when someone has hurt us to find an ounce of compassion or a genuine desire to wish them well as they move on with their lives.
My own struggle with this has been an ongoing, and by no means linear, path. I have always desired to wish those people from my past well—to genuinely (and I mean genuinely) want them to be happy and at peace.
We all deserve this, no matter what mistakes and missteps we’ve made in the past.
But oftentimes we may find that we have a different inner dialogue going on inside our heads. We may want to do the right thing and wish them well, but instead we find ourselves thinking:
You don’t deserve to be happy after the way you treated me. I hope the person you’re with now sh*ts all over you the way you sh*t all over me so you know how it feels.
Cut yourself some slack. It’s human.
When people hurt us, we want them to hurt back. It’s the inner child in us rearing its ugly little head.
Unfortunately, thinking that way is never going to get us what we actually want, which is real contentment in our own lives, whether we end up deciding to go it alone or enter into a relationship with somebody new.
We can’t move forward if we’re still looking backward, casting stones at the person or people we left behind.
How can we expect ourselves to be truly happy—and I mean the no-bullsh*t-I’m-not-still-holding-grudges kind of happy—when we’re still exerting energy wishing someone from our past ill?
That person who hurt us so much? We’re still giving them way too much power over our life. By not letting go and hoping that they’re miserable, we’re allowing them to continue to cause us pain. Trust me, they don’t know or care that we’re still obsessing over them and losing sleep thinking of all the ways we’d like to see their life blow up in their face.
They’ve moved on—remember?
But us? We’re continuing to stay stuck energetically in an experience that already caused us enough pain. And that’s not going to move us forward.
This is the one single most important lesson I’ve learned in my own journey:
When somebody doesn’t want us, they’ve done us a monumental favor by letting us go.
It doesn’t matter how they did it. They may have done it in the most cowardly, selfish, manipulative and hurtful way, but they did us a favor.
We don’t want to be with somebody who doesn’t want to be with us. Period. End of story.
But, more importantly, we want to wish those people the highest, most genuine healing and happiness and love the universe can bring them, because those people—the ones who have little awareness or consciousness of the pain they’ve caused others they once loved—they need it the most.
We spend so much of our lives telling other people what they should feel and how they should do things, from loving us to letting us go. I’ve learned that the best way we can teach people to be better in these situations is to model what being better looks like.
It means modeling kindness and forgiveness and understanding, even when we feel they don’t deserve it.
It means modeling taking the high road when every fiber of our being wants to take the lowest road possible.
It means having enough love for ourself that we want to be free of the past so that we can have a better future—one that doesn’t involve lugging around that old story of the guy or girl who broke our heart like a backpack full of jagged rocks.
Just put it down and let it go. Wish them love. Wish them happiness. Wish them a future filled with all of their own dreams coming true.
I promise, in the end, you’re the one who will feel a whole hell of a lot lighter.
Author: Dina Strada
Image: Nickolai Kashirin/Flickr
Editor: Toby Israel