It does something to us when others don't treat us as appreciatively as we would like. It does something to us when we are hurt, regardless of whether it is meant as a hurt or whether we just feel it that way. Feelings of powerlessness, anger, sadness and pain come up.
We all want to be seen, respected and loved.
But the reality is: we get hurt. Over and over again.
We will not go through this life unharmed.
Hurt is part of being human.
People hurt people.
Hurt people hurt people.
Injuries stir us up.
New wounds sit on top of old wounds and few of us are self-aware enough to know when a new injury triggers an old wound.
The wounded child in us is highly sensitive. His wounds are not all healed, even if we work on ourselves for years.
There are hurts that never heal. They are scarred like old wounds. When they are touched we feel them.
That's okay. It's not a drama if we don't make one.
Pain is part of being alive.
A central phrase in Buddhism is, "Suffering is part of being alive." Pain and suffering follow injury. Every living thing feels pain. Resisting it creates suffering.
So the question, "How can we protect ourselves from injury?" is unnecessary. We cannot. Just as we cannot protect ourselves from fate, which sometimes strikes without warning, like a bolt from the blue. That, too, is life. For me, being aware of this is a sign of human maturity.
A mature question is: How do I deal with injuries?
Quite contrary to the immaturity of today's time, which makes us believe: To be happy is the maxim. To be hurt, to cry, to mourn, to be disappointed, to be sad, for that we almost have to justify or even apologize today.
How uncool, he is unhappy. He's doing something wrong. He's thinking too negatively.
Most people try to hide their hurts and pain. They pretend to be happy and are unhappy. They fool themselves and others. They post happy-beaming selfies on Facebook and Instagram while sitting at home looking completely different.
Brave new world.
No, not beautiful. Dishonest new world.
A world that gives us the impression that pain and suffering are abnormal and something for the weak. Depression, anxiety disorders, compulsions are only for the weak.
Many of us try convulsively to deny pain and avoid it. We repress, compensate, deny and overplay it. If it catches us, we want it to go away again very quickly. And that is exactly what does not work.
There are injuries and emotional pain that accompany us for a long time. Some even for a lifetime.
That's how it is and that's how it is.
We cannot protect ourselves from injuries, but we can learn to deal with them in a healthy way.
The pragmatic way of Buddhism is helpful: "Understand the direct causes within yourself for your suffering. And stop contributing to the causes." Suffering is viewed and valued in Buddhism as an awakening moment. Pain as an indication of an opportunity for improvement in our lives.
Suffering is inevitable. We cannot escape it, but we can decide how to deal with it. We ourselves are responsible for whether we give pain power over us or whether we consciously look at it and ask ourselves: what am I doing with it? What can I learn from it? What is it perhaps even good for? How can I deal with it in such a way that my thoughts and actions do not unnecessarily intensify the pain? What do I have to let go of in order to feel better? What do I have to do more of, what is good for me?
The path through and out of pain is a path with the possibility of inner growth. Pain that is pushed away creates suffering. We turn off suffering by turning off what creates suffering within ourselves.
When we are hurt again, we may say: Yes, this is painful. That hurts. And we may let the feeling be there. We accept the feeling. We accept that we feel what we feel. We accept what is. We embrace the feeling. We comfort ourselves, we hold the feeling in our arms like a hurt little child. We cradle it. We soothe it as we would soothe a child. We practice acceptance and learn self-soothing skills. We learn to care for ourselves compassionately and lovingly precisely because we are hurting.
"An empathetic attitude is not just always there, but always emerges when we take good care of ourselves and nurture ourselves."