“They were just being spiteful to be spiteful.” A dear, but very frustrated woman spoke these words recently, as she attempted to describe a family situation that felt both hurtful and unreasonable. No one is spiteful, hateful, rude, mean or nasty unless they are in incredible emotional pain.
Underneath the mean and nasty is a lot of pain that hasn’t been dealt with, or perhaps not even acknowledged. I don’t say this to suggest that because someone’s abusive behavior is really reflective of their own pain that they should get a free pass, and not be held accountable or deal with the consequences of their actions. Not saying that at all.
I share this to help you know that the hurtful, abusive action and words directed at you are not about you. The hurtful words or abusive actions of others projected to you do not in any way signal how you deserve to be treated nor indicate your value and worth as a human being. Regardless of what someone has said or done to you, the deepest truth is that you deserve love and respect because you are a special and priceless just as you are. You are a unique manifestation of God. This is true even if people in your life cannot recognize that because they are blinded by their own pain.
This past September 2013, I launched my “Forgiveness Tour,” going across the U.S. talking about both the value of forgiveness in helping people to heal from their love-hurts and to get free from the prison of self-protections. Recently, I gave a talk to a group therapists and counselors on the theme of “Forgiveness as a Healing Resource.” In that gathering, we talked about the pain that many people experience repeatedly when they remain in unchanged relationships with those who repeatedly hurt them, yet they expect the hurt to stop. They say, “I forgave…”
For me, forgiveness is unconditional love with healthy boundaries. While forgiveness helps you to love others who may act out of their emotional woundedness, it doesn’t lead you to sacrifice your own dignity, worthy and value.
Forgiveness helps you to see more clearly whether your loved ones are emotionally ready to look at and deal with their own pain instead of projecting that pain into the world, and onto you. Forgiveness helps you to learn how to relate with those who have hurt you in ways that are healthy for you. Forgiveness reminds you that underneath the rude, mean, and nasty is a person in pain, who needs your prayer and love.
When you read my blog posts, please send your comments and I will be glad to respond. Peace, CJ