The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

April 29, 2009

Hurt People Hurt People

No it is not a typo, and it is not meaningless repetition. It is in fact an answer to one of the most difficult questions I frequently ponder: Why do we so often hurt one another? Why are we so often mean, judgmental, negative, and critical?

There are probably many ways to answer these questions. But one answer is to say,

Hurt people hurt people.

When I am mean, critical, negative, and judgmental, it is because I am acting out of that place where I experience myself as having been hurt. I attack because I feel vulnerable. I criticize in an attempt to rebuild my faltering sense of self. I judge others because I have already judged myself and found myself lacking.

Hurt people hurt people.

So how does this idea help me in relationship to people who hurt me, or in relationship to myself when I feel hurt?

When I can look at a person who hurts me as a hurt person, it is easier to extend towards that person the compassion that has the capacity to set us both free. When I see that my hurtful behaviour comes from my own experience of pain, I find compassion for myself.

To be compassionate means being willing to look clearly at myself and at others. When I see clearly, I see that we are all hurt. We are all broken; and the sharp edges of our brokenness will always clash until we acknowledge the wounds that cause us to hurt and to be hurt.

When I feel attacked, I need to understand that my attacker is acting out of their own insecurity, fear, anxiety, and hurt. This is not a bad person, not even a cruel person. This is a hurt person, a fearful person, a sad person who is unwilling, or unable to bear their own sadness and therefore feels compelled to attempt to inflict it upon others.

When I have deeply accepted my own wounds, the wounds others attempt to inflict upon me, lose their power. I no longer need to pass on my pain, or to be overwhelmed by the pain of others. I am free to live from a place of strength.

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