Every one of us, as we go through life, has times when we’re hurt or frustrated or disappointed. Sometimes those feelings arise because of our own actions and sometimes as a result of our interactions with others. Some things we find we can “rise above” and they become incidents in our past that have no hold over us.
But some things linger and keep us trapped, unable to move away from the shame or the guilt or the hurt that we felt at the time of the incident. Those unhappy, unhelpful feelings smother us and colour our expectations of how life will be. They infect our relationships with those around us and poison our view of ourselves. In effect, we allow the power of those negative feelings to gain control over us and cast ourselves forever as a Victim.
Life as a Victim is not much fun, for us or for those around us. Victims are constantly expecting a repeat of the original, hurtful behaviour and so that’s what they get – either by provoking it in those around them or by misinterpreting/refusing to see kind thoughts and deeds for what they really are.
At the same time, the Victim is constantly replaying the original hurt and building the person that hurt them up into a Monster of mythical proportions. In keeping the incident alive and re-running it, the Victim gives the Monster incredible, superhuman powers of control over them, and then lives in a state of constant fear that history will repeat itself. The Victim, in effect, ends up creating a prison of fear for themself and giving the keys to a Monster.
The good news is that there IS a way out of this cycle of fear and hurt.
Imagine a small, fearful child, terrified of what’s going on around him and feeling powerless. How do terrified children behave? Well, some will become paralysed by their fear and go into a state of shock, and some will lash out, attempting to fight their way out of the frightening situation. What feelings do you experience when confronted with a terrified child – compassion? Love? Forgiveness and understanding for what could look like bad behaviour, if you didn’t know that they were acting from fear?
Now think of your own, particular Monster, and try to see the frightened child within them. Could their behaviour, that hurt you so much, have been a result of that frightened child within them, lashing out? Think about it:
- the bullying boss who constantly put you down and eroded your self-confidence – was that behaviour a result of their fear of their own inadequacy?
- the abusive parent who inflicted mental and physical cruelties on you as you were growing up – was that behaviour a result of their own fear of the Monsters in their life?
Whoever and whatever your own personal Monster, if you want to release yourself from your own prison of fear, allow yourself to look for the frightened child within, and to feel compassion for it.
Speak to that frightened child and forgive it.
Imagine the frightened child within you, and the frightened child within your Monster, embracing in love.
It won’t be easy and it won’t be immediate. But if you can try, every day, to focus on and forgive the frightened children in your life, you will find your prison walls melting away and the sunlight pouring into your life again.