Life is a collection of experiences through diverse, complex, internal, and external relationships.
Individuals who make up these relationships are multilayered beings wired from the physical to the spiritual, internal, and mental.
The human brain and its capabilities remain a wonder to mankind and mad scientists, despite the groundbreaking advancements made in the world of science and technology.
Therefore, it is counterproductive to assume that things would always go swimmingly during our interactions with other cross-wired human beings.
In real life, things can go wrong; bad things can happen, even with the purest of intentions and the sincerest of hearts.
Knowing this is knowing peace.
People step on each other’s toes. Friends have misunderstandings. Enemies do what enemies do to each other. Tempers rise. Tongues wag. Words escape our mouths uncensored. Push eventually comes to shove, and tantrums get thrown when access is denied. The list goes on and on.
In all the above-mentioned scenarios, someone always gets hurt, blamed, bruised, deflated, or disappointed. Someone goes home and breaks down into tears. Someone curses the day they met someone and wishes they had never been born.
When this happens, humans do what humans do best: get caught up in their emotions.
Our brain, as deceitful and manipulative as it can be, rocks us gently in a blanket of anger and frustration whilst releasing the big dogs—neurons that specialize in conducting negative nerve impulses.
The big dogs here include the feeling of shame, fear, and guilt. Sometimes, resentment sneaks out the back door to join the pooping party.
Wallowing in this mind space has the potential to drive us deeper into depression and other mental disorders. It is a mess that could become even messier if not addressed with self-love and kindness toward ourselves.
In today’s society, breaking the law attracts punishment. Think armed or unarmed robbers, rapists, murderers, human traffickers, etcetera.. Naughty kids who do bad things also get punished by their parents or guardians. Companies do the same to their employees.
In every segment of society, we have been conditioned to reward wrongdoings with punishment. Consequently, we subscribe to self-inflicted punishment when we have done something wrong or crossed a line, even as sovereign individuals.
We cater to and indulge in our own pity party, where guilt watches the door and shame selects the music.
Even when the idea of letting go crosses our mind, we ignore it, electing to wrestle with these dark, torturous emotions.
This entanglement depletes our physical, mental, and spiritual resources in a battle we can neither win nor lose. Swiveling around this dreamy loop, we dine with the demons summoned from the hell we created.
When this depressing party of one eventually ends, we realize that we have only gained extra weight around our waist, extended wrinkles on our face, swollen eye bags, and a weary spirit.
Emotional eating tastes like red velvet cake under a thick blanket in the still of the night.
By doing this, we deny ourselves the opportunity to appraise the situation constructively, retrace our steps through reflection, and find the essence of the experience, the wisdom in the war, the pearl in the poop.
Self-punishment can be expensive because of what it deprives us of—the ability to look into the horizon where there is potential for learning.
To overcome this unhealthy relationship between wrongdoings and punishment, we have to open our minds to see cause and effect from another perspective—an opportunity for growth.
Learning is not fun when we are dealing with the difficulties and complexities of life.
Navigating life under these circumstances can be challenging and exhausting.
This awful dynamic thus makes it is impossible to avoid human conflict.
Adopting the concept of learning and growing then becomes imperative to living progressive lives.
Learning is a continuous process. Growth is an iterative process.
Even when we feel like we have reached a certain level of competence, achieved a level of trust, or developed a seemingly unbreakable connection in our interpersonal relationships, life can still happen. Triggers can still go off.
Everything we have built over time can come crashing down, leaving us with deep cuts and vivid scars.
When crushed, hurt, and scarred, questioning our growth becomes inevitable.
How is it possible that this can still have a big negative impact on my heart after all the work I’ve put into this journey?
It feels like the time and energy we invested in our evolution got wasted, which often initiates a deconstructive sequence where we invalidate our growth.
Evolution may be everlasting, but life is fleeting.
One moment you are hugging someone, and the next, you are burying them. One moment you are friends, and the next, you can’t stand each other. One moment you are free, and the next, you are confined.
Whichever part of the divide we fall, we have to deal with the monster, the giant fear-induced hologram that scares us into invalidating our growth and limits our vision from beholding the horizon.
Our scars authenticate our growth, not the heights we have attained or the amount of time in-between.
Even when they fade, our scars follow us wherever we go, reminding us of the battles we have fought and the sacrifices we have made.
Our scars reflect our journey and up-sells our resilience—the propensity to choose good or evil.
When we suffer unpleasant experiences, we must try to resist shame’s invitation to launch a pity party of one, thus robbing ourselves of the lessons, which becomes a blessing—i.e., growth.
Personally, I find the pearl in the poop by writing five things I have learned from an unpleasant experience and then five things that I will do differently when faced with such in the future.
Note: five is not a magic number. It could be as little as two or as many as 10 (or more). And the process of exploring our pain for these answers is neither easy nor a one-stop solution for overcoming hurt.
The exercise merely serves as a reverse vision board, a visual representation of the worms eating up our minds and the thoughts driving us nuts.
This is how we rise above our circumstances.
This is how we learn, grow, and hopefully let go.