When I saw the news reports of Jon Biden’s recent inauguration, and watched Michelle Obama descend the steps in her amazing maroon coloured suit I was reminded of her words “when they go low, we go high”.
She endured a frustrating four years of watching on in disappointment with patience, integrity and virtue. And it led me to thinking, that when we are hurt or wronged by another, we must do our best to not wrong them in return. This is the way of Peace.
While it is true that hurt people hurt people, we have the power to say this is not how the story ends. Peaceful people do not go out of their way to hurt others. They don’t take offense easily, and offer others the benefit of the doubt before evaluation and action. It’s the realisation of two sides to a story and having both on the table to be considered and viewed.
It’s not easy to live this way. It often means having hard conversations or being the person to say “can we talk about xyz?”. It’s risky and vulnerable. But it’s the way of peace.
So how to we avoid the pitfall of continuing a cycle of hurt when we have been hurt? As the saying goes… “Blasting another person with anger is like throwing hot coals with bare hands: Both people get burned.”
First pause and centre yourself. When we react in a emotional state, we often further the pain. Give yourself the gift of time.
Second, be for yourself. This is not about being against others but finding confidence in yourself. It’s not always possible to justify yourself to the accuser but finding your worth and love in knowing your story is bigger and beyond this pain.
Third, get clarity. Pray, journal, speak to a counsellor. Seek out the bigger picture, not just your viewpoint. It may hurt to consider the other POV but understanding is not the same as condoning. There is usually many things that have happened prior to reach this point. A bit like what happens upstream effects the river later on.
Fourth, make an action plan to move forward based on facts and that stands by your values. Say what needs to be said objectively, without emotional bias. Your voice matters. An action plan helps you progress on.
And finally, move on. Realise that life is part of nature and therefore has its seasons as well. Moving on is for your own sake, start releasing your angry or hurt thoughts and feelings. Stop your mind from obsessing about the past, and focus on the present and future. Turn toward what is going well, what you’re grateful for, what is joy giving. Dust the dirt from your feet and trust the promise of hope.
Healing is yours. It takes time. It’s not easy, no process is. The temptation is to rush, to not bare out the discomfort. But know that it won’t always feel like this, healing is happening.
One step at a time.