Hurt People, Hurt People
By John Alston
“Hurt people, hurt people.” In other words, people who hurt others with their actions and words are people who are hurting inside themselves! When someone lashes out at another person, they are expressing their hurt in a destructive and irresponsible manner. Feelings of hurt and pain are normal parts of everyday life. Therefore, it is important to find solutions to our problems that are constructive and responsible in order to enjoy the pleasures that life has to offer, as well.
Feelings never tell us what to do. They only tell us that something requires our attention. So negative feelings can play a positive role in our lives. We must put ourselves in control of the painful emotions rather than be controlled by them. The first step in taking control is to ask the question, “What is causing these feelings?”
Sometimes the cause of the feelings is from recent events-job loss or health decline. Other times, the cause is a manifestation of negative emotion from long ago-unresolved issues of adolescence. Take the time to ask the question, think, and seek answers. This is important whether you are the one who is angry or the one who is on the receiving end of an angry person’s wrath.
If you are angry and find yourself hurting others, here are some things that should help you deal with your feelings in a more constructive way:
1. Be mindful that you are entitled to the full range of feelings that life has to offer, one of which is pain. Make up your mind that you are not entitled to hurt others with those feelings. It is normal to feel pain. It is unacceptable to inflict it.
2. Take note of what makes you want to act ugly, sullen, and resentful. Is there a pattern? Do your assumptions about people and life need adjustments so that you’re not so upset by (often unrelated or minor) irritants?
3. Remain current with your feelings and needs. Don’t put off taking care of yourself. Feel pain, acknowledge it, and search for solutions. Reactions that are solution-oriented help you find good ways to deal with hurt.
4. Change you attitude about hurt. This allows you to avoid hurt in the first place. By this, I don’t mean you should avoid things that make you feel bad. Adopt a personal policy not to let negative emotion control you. When you decide to take control, pain can’t fester into an uncontrollable monster.
5. Don’t choose the pain. I hate to say this, but some people hurt, because they choose to hurt. They decide that something is worth suffering over and believe that they need to “dwell here now.” That’s not to say that you should no longer discriminate between right and wrong. However, be more discriminating about that on which you’re willing to expend mental energy.
6. Approach people and situations with patience and understanding. This causes you to slow down and act less impulsively. Imagine that a child spills milk at the table and an adult goes bonkers. The adult hasn’t stopped to think about the fact that when children are growing up, the latter are clumsy at different developmental stages by nature, and that the spilt milk was not intentional or the result of laziness.
7. Look for non-destructive ways to express your anger. Being current, as previously mentioned, is one way. Others include, but are not limited to, taking slow deep breaths, biting your tongue, holding in your stomach, counting to ten, meditating, contemplating and praying. All of us do better when we control our impulses when expressing anger.
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John Alston, CSP, CPAE is an internationally known Performance Strategist whose programs have lifted the spirits of millions of people worldwide. He works with people who want to improve their lives, and with organizations who encourage personal achievement and character development. Even off the platform, John’s insights captivate audiences through four books he’s authored: Life is a Gift, Don’t Trash It; Talking with Teens in Turbulent Times; Goodness Must Be Taught; and his latest, Stuff Happens (Then You Fix It!). For more information about John Alston, visit his website at http://www.JohnAlston.com
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