STOP DOING THINGS THAT HURT YOU

May 4, 2018

Throughout this entire season I’ve been walking through, I’ve had a hard time knowing what’s wise and what’s unwise when it comes to my healing. People I’ve talked to have told me a lot of different things, and while I definitely appreciate the support and encouragement I’ve been receiving, sometimes it can be conflicting to hear so many different opinions/words of advice. I’ve realized that most people I talk to are going to have different things to say to me, and that’s okay. It’s allowed me to look at my situation from many different viewpoints, which I’m thankful for because I don’t want to be closed-minded about any part of this situation. But, one piece of advice that I’ve heard from just about every single person I’ve talked to is (more or less) to stop doing things that will hurt me.

Basically, stop doing things that you know are only going to set you back when you’re trying to move forward. Everyone knows the things that are going to set them back in their healing. You know, the things you do that you know will only make you upset, but you can’t seem to make yourself stop doing? I struggle so much with this. For some reason it becomes so addicting to get into a cycle of self-sabotage (seems like a pretty good name for it), but it’s so important to break the cycle in order to move forward.

Only you know the things that are going to set you back. What may be a struggle for some people in their healing process may not be a struggle for you, and vice versa. It’s most important in this instance to focus on yourself and what you know about yourself rather than listening to what other people may try to tell you about your own healing process.

If listening to certain music is going to bring back memories and fuel your sadness, listen to something else (or drive in silence like I’ve been doing for the past 2 months!!). Don’t get me wrong — it’s okay to take the time to feel your sadness. Sometimes I just have to take some time to listen to Taylor Swift’s “Red” album and cry it out, which is fine. Like it says in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time to mourn. It’s not wrong to feel sad and to embrace those painful feelings as they come. But just as there is a time to mourn, there is also a time to laugh. A time to get up, wash the mascara stains off your face, and keep going. Don’t allow yourself to listen to your sad music and wallow all day. I know that sometimes this may be all you want to do (because some days it definitely is for me), but this is not going to help you heal.

If certain people make you feel pathetic or invalidated, stop talking to those people about your situation. It may sound mean or selfish, but it’s completely okay to put yourself first and do what you have to do to take care of yourself. PLEASE NOTE: this is not the same as avoiding people who may tell you things you don’t want to hear — that’s what the people who love you should do. Don’t avoid the people who tell you the things that are hard for you to hear out of love. What no one should ever do, though, is make you feel like your reaction to a painful experience is not warranted. Not everyone you talk to will be able to understand or relate to the pain you’re experiencing, and therefore may not be able to respond in a way that will make you feel supported. There’s nothing wrong with holding back from some people if reaching out to them is only going to make you feel worse.

If you know that following people on social media is going to expose you to things that could potentially make your healing even harder, unfollow them. Who cares if it seems petty? You know your reasons and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Better yet, stay off of social media altogether if this is a big struggle for you. It’s definitely been one for me. I’ve been doing my best to spend less time on social media lately, and I have to say, it’s probably the best thing you could do if you are struggling. A couple months ago I was obsessive about checking social media and seeing what people were up to — and inevitably I would see things that hurt me. Every single day. It was painful, but I was doing it to myself, and I had to force myself out of that cycle. If this sounds familiar, I would highly suggest deleting social media apps and just staying away for awhile. It can be hard to break the habit of constantly checking your phone, but it’s so beneficial.

These are just a few examples I can think of from my own experience. The thing is, when you’ve been hurt and the wound is still raw, a lot of things are going to be painful to do, hear, or see. It sucks, but you really do have to be careful about what you expose yourself to. I still have to be very intentional about the things I do in my spare time. I can’t listen to certain songs/albums right now. I haven’t opened up about my situation to everyone, because I know it would not be beneficial for me to talk to certain people about it. I’ve been forcing myself to get on social media less and to be more intentional when I do get on.

If you’re like me, maybe the thought of having to do all of these things to avoid being more hurt is upsetting. Honestly, it seems unfair to me. Sometimes I get stuck in a victim mentality and think, “after all the pain I’ve already experienced, I should not be having to take these extra measures to make sure that I’m not hurt even more. But the thing is, I have to do these things for myself. Something my counselor always tells me is to look at my situation and determine the areas where I do have power and control and the areas where I don’t, and I think this is important for everyone who is trying to heal from something to think about. I can’t control that I’ve been hurt, and I can’t control the fact that other people may say, do, or post things that have the power to hurt me more — but I can control whether or not I let those things have that power over me. I can control whether or not I experience more hurt. I can control whether or not I allow myself to be defeated by my hurt.

It’s hard knowing that things in life and the people you love can change and that you can be hurt by people you never expected to be hurt by, in ways you never expected to be hurt. But, something I’ve been learning through all of this is that the most important thing to focus on during your hurt is right now. Focusing on the way things used to be or the way things could be is only going to set you up for more hurt, which is the last thing you need when you’re already hurting. The past doesn’t matter right now, potential for the future doesn’t matter right now. What matters is where you are today — you have to deal with what you’re currently walking through based on the reality of the situation right now. If God has a specific plan for your situation, he will work it out exactly how he wants it, and the only thing you have control over is how you handle the pain you’re experiencing currently. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck by doing things that you know are only going to hinder your healing.

The takeaway: be kind to yourself in your healing process. Stop listening to certain music for now if you have to. Avoid certain places for a little while if they’re going to bring back painful memories. Stop talking to unsupportive people about the pain you’re experiencing if they have nothing encouraging to offer you. Delete pictures! Delete people on social media! Take care of yourself! There will be a day where these measures won’t have to be taken and you won’t have to be so careful about things. I’m personally very excited for that day, because right now it seems like it will never come, but I know the Lord is working on healing my heart. And I know he is going to bless me in amazing ways that I can’t even picture. He’s going to do that for you, too. It’s important that we take care of ourselves in seasons of pain, and although it seems like we shouldn’t have to do it, we have the power to guard our hearts from more pain and we can trust that one day the pain we are currently experiencing will reveal a greater plan.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18

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