Reflections for the inner life.
by Hayne Steen
Let me begin this by asking a few questions;
Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. On both ends of hurt, we have each been the offender and the offended. Every day we endure hundreds of little and no so little losses that over time can accumulate like cholesterol.
Words get exchanged. Feelings get felt. Silence gets deployed. Words get withheld. Messages get mixed up. Memories get messy.
Our body holds that hurt. Grief is our body's logical mechanism for managing the loss. When we refuse or don’t know how to grieve, that hurt turns into resentment.
Think about that word. Resentment. Re-sentimenting. Re-feeling.
We are hard wired for hope. That’s why we “re-feel” things. Over and over, we attempt to digest our hurt. We are determined to feel it over and over and over again, with the expectation that it will crunch up the memory once and for all.
Have you heard this saying before? "Unforgiveness (aka resentment or undealt with hurt) is a poison we drink hoping it will poison the other person or offending party."
Hurt demands healing. Our bodies won’t leave us alone until we do.
Just like a death, we hunger for healing and relief from our pain. When an injury has taken place in a context of relationship, the only way for us to heal is the same way we were injured.
We heal the way we were hurt which is why we resist it so much. Someone has already broken our trust or confidence so the least logical next step is to trust someone else. It’s far more safe to remain in the hurt than to risk in relationship, with the one who hurt us or someone else.
When we do not pivot toward healing, we remain stuck in resentment which guarantees that we will begin to over identify with our pain.
In order to talk about healing resentment, we’ve got to talk about grief and forgiveness.
Grief is a process that we go through in order for our brains, bodies, and souls to accept the reality of what or who has been lost. Like I said, we sustain hundreds of losses every day.
People are notoriously injured when;
We all have the capacity to hurt and be hurt. The good news? We all have the capacity to heal.
Grief is this incredible piece of technology that were made with in order to navigate life in a tragic place. Another beautiful piece of technology at our disposal is forgiveness. Both of these have the power to set us free, if we will engage them.
One of the best ways to engage grief and forgiveness are in a context of trust. This is why counseling can often be such a powerful tool to utilize. It is a laboratory where we have permission to experiment with the toxicity of our hurts, feel what we need to feel, own what we need to own, lay down what needs laying down and move toward whomever we need to move toward.
Grief allows us to forgive.
We do not want to live with unattended heartache. It will poison us from the inside out.
When we are stuck in hurt and heartache we will make attempts to invite others INTO our pain. Forgiveness, though, can allow us to no longer be bound by or stuck in that hurt or loss. It can open us up to more wisely and freely give of ourselves.
We all need time to grieve in order to give ourselves away again. And with enough willingness, patience, work and time, we can feel the freedom of unburdening.
May you find some space to sit still enough to notice and name your own unattended heartache. And may you find a waymaker, someone who can sit as a quiet presence with you and hold space for you and your resentment as you lean into your own unique healing process.
Elbow Tree Christian Counseling