Hurt to me is like someone taking an axe and putting it in my heart. Hurt is an arrow that is pierced right in the middle of my heart. The depth of the arrow will determine the intensity of hurt.
Growing up as the youngest person in a joint family of 10 people. I got this feeling from all authority figures. It was like an arrow that is not just put deep in my heart but also twisted and turned. It ruptured my arteries. Blood gushing out from all pores.
This is not it. Now, the arrow is taken out. Slowly. Dipped in salt and stabbed in my heart again, deep in that open wound.
My inner child would shout in pain.
Cynicism, blame, jealousy, prejudice and paranoia were the arrows in the quiver with which I would be hit repeatedly throughout my childhood.
My challenges with authority esp. male authorities were very deep rooted. I was conditioned to believe authority is always right. You can’t question them. They think of your welfare. They take care of you. The only way to survive is being in their good books. Being strong. While I was experiencing pain, I had no understanding of the feeling of hurt.
Hurt was a language, I had no vocabulary about. Hurt did something physical to me. But I was too busy with the thoughts in my mind to notice the feelings in my body.
For every blow I would get, I will add to it by punishing myself. I would think, “I need to do better. I am not good enough. I need to be strong”.
I would think, “Why would authority hurt me? They are well intentional. I need to grow up. I need to be strong.”
This was like, for every external arrow hitting my heart, I would internally scratch my limbs with a Swiss knife. Unaware that this is even more violent. I would bleed even more profusely. Yet, I would push the knife deep in my flesh with vengeful eyes. Not able to realize that I am only depleting myself. Over adapting and internal rebellion were the two sharp edges of my knife.
How do I notice the feeling of hurt in my body when I couldn’t even notice the language of body sensations? The pains in heart or limbs were indistinguishable. The pain from external attack and self bashing were same.
I was wired that way. I was wired to swallow all blabber from authority figures without even questioning it. What they say is always an attribute about me. Never their mood or shortcomings. They are perfect. I would swallow their words without chewing. No wonder, I would struggle digesting them. The indigestion would constantly trouble me and churn my stomach. It would manifest as boils and acne.
If they lavish praise, which would always be scarce, it would be like a feather rolling down on my bare back. Touching each vertebra of my spinal cord. Producing a tingling sensation throughout my body. The feeling is so refreshing. Just like that, listening to authority praise, I could feel each part of my body opening up. Exactly opposite to the numbing I would do when in pain. I would bask in the glory of their praise for days. I would rejoice in that feeling and play the story in my mind in loops.
Again, I would ingest the praise without chewing. Praises were like the suppliment pills. There is no role of digestion. They directly get mixed with blood. Making me addicted to them.
I was like a parasite. Incapable of surviving independently. Clinging to any authority. While growing up it was my brother and uncle. During school, it would be tuition teachers. In college it was a professor. During jobs it would be bosses. I don’t remember any time without authority voice barking in my head. Hurt was not comfortable but familiar. I had no vocabulary of any other language.
All this was about to change when I met a woman. She would dress elegantly. Excessive jewelry and makeup were only distractions, confidence radiating from every pore of her body was the true insight. Her stature was short but she would stand tall on two heels of Equality and Compassion.
An open therapy program with her was an eye opener for me. She would do everything on her own. Where is the place for hierarchy in learning? Hierarchy flattens in front of humility. Yet, she would never hesitate in calling a spade a spade. Her only motto was to apply soothing balm on others wound. Kindness, truth and dignity were the herbs that made her balm. I got a new perspective about authority after meeting her. I got introduced to personal power that each one of us have.
“So you yearn for the attention of authority. You want to matter to them”, She validated my feelings. It felt soothing like a chilled vaporub on my heart. This was her way of applying balm on emotional wounds. Simple acknowledgements. There was no place for stitches or hiding wounds beneath a bandage.
By acknowledging and validating, she would show how to recognize your own wounds. Just as no wound is ugly or impure to her, no feeling is good or bad. All feelings are important. She would say, “Name your feelings to tame them”
A well intentional teacher or guide can only show the way. A nurturing and caring one would walk few steps however the path has to be walked upon only by the individual. Similarly, I realized that now I am only equipped with the language of healing emotional wounds. It was all within me. However only I had to put in efforts to apply it. Only I had to muster the courage of facing my wounds.
Also, the balm doesn’t work overnight. In fact, the only thing it does is prepare the body to increase it’s immunity. As you apply more the immunity multiplies and the wound heals on its own.
It took around one and half year of persistent efforts of regularly applying the balm to cleanse my wounds. It is a continuous journey. It has been soothing to the core of my heart and limbs. Now the cells are developing an immunity of their own. It has been truly liberating.
My heart has learned to recognize the pointed pinch of hurt and I have completely stopped self bashing.
I have got connected to my inner authority. I have learned to use my personal power and be codependent with others rather than being dependent.
The internal tape of mind is replaced with observing the sensations while feeling hurt. The hurt is no longer life threatening. My survival is no longer threatened by the attack. I have learned to defend myself not by attacking back but by standing up for myself. I do bark back at times. I end up using the Swiss knife on the attacker sometimes now. I am learning to just defend.
I am learning to stay with my hurt and connect with my attackers by generating compassion for them. I have also discovered that by being compassionate, I take away their power to hurt me. Their sharp arrows of blame and cynicism fall flate on my armor of compassion and active listening.
This compassion also makes me realize that the attacker is also like me. He is just as ignorant and unaware as I was before meeting this powerful lady.
As I continue my journey of becoming a therapist, I hope to not just defend myself but also apply the cooling balm to help others heal their wounds.
I encourage you to apply the same balm. Acknowledge all your feelings. Acknowledging doesn’t mean acting on it. Just accepting it. Trying to learn what does it tell you. You will surely feel liberated!