It was a very specific kind of hurt. While it resembled garden-variety hurt that happens to nearly everyone, nearly all the time, this hurt was tailored. Due to specific circumstances, it was very clear, and very obvious that it was intended to hurt, that the person doing the action wanted it to hurt, and knew just how to make it hurt on many different levels.
This isn’t about that person. This isn’t, really, about me getting hurt.
I’m just telling you all this, because I wanted to share a thing a friend said to me.
Many people pointed out the (obvious, in retrospect) nature of how we can allow ourselves to be hurt. How the actions and attitudes we take, especially with specific people, can make getting hurt as simple as just existing.
And while their point is absolutely correct, it also can lead to self-judgment and recrimination about how “weak” or [insert term here] you were to allow yourself to be hurt. Taken too far – and many of us, when hurt or upset, will take an idea too far – the idea that you allow others to hurt you can become akin to blaming the victim.
To balance it, then, I want to draw attention to what Marian Allen said, which draws attention to the other side of what happens when you’re hurt:
You can only be hurt because you refuse to let the hurtful one force you to build a protective, isolating wall around yourself. If you can’t be hurt anymore, it means part of you is dead. If you can still be hurt, it means you win.
I think the two concepts – that you must be mindful of how you can allow others to hurt you, and that vulnerability is a good thing – are equally important.
And thank you all for reminding me of them.