How We Can Rise Above Hurting

The following are sub-themes:

  • Giving and Receiving Hurt
  • Words Like Daggers
  • Understanding the Hurter
  • Recognizing the Gifts for Hurtee
  • Choosing Open Communication
  • Colorful Possibilities
  • Perspective: The Golden Key
  • When Others Continue To Be Hurtful
  • #556, A No-Stick Anointing (A Joel Osteen message)
  • A Message of Appreciation

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Giving and Receiving Hurt

Most, if not all of us, have experienced someone’s dagger-like words and/or actions at some point(s) in our lives. And normally, we would react to their hurtful ways by feeling sad or unworthy, letting it ruin our day(s)/week(s)/month(s)/even years, building resentment, holding a grudge, being sarcastic, lashing out, physically attacking, getting revenge, etc. The truth is, both sides of behaviors actually stem from an absence or lack of understanding and compassion.

Because, what could happen if a person trying to hurt another first really thought about how their words and/or actions could negatively affect that person? What if a person trying to hurt another took a brief moment to see if s/he was being too quick to judge, and/or didn’t have all the facts? Or what could happen if a person receiving the hurtful words and/or actions chose to be understanding by seeing a situation from a different perspective, and thus, had a different reaction?

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Granted, it would be a perfect world if both parties could always be more understanding, and work things out with kind and honest communication. However, not everyone’s going to be so willing to take that path, until more people decide to do so and make it the new norm.

So what’s the next best thing for now? I believe through sharing knowledge, truth and wisdom about choosing to better understand and have compassion for one another, we can eventually achieve this goal. The next thing you know, it’ll be second nature for human beings to avoid hurting one another.

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The following are some short stories of how I perceived hurtful people then, and how I perceive them now:

Words Like Daggers

One of the warrant officers (WO) in my unit in Hawaii was an older Korean lady. She wasn’t my direct leader, but she was one of the warrant officer leaders in my company. She appeared to be in her late-forties to early fifties. I used to admire and respect her because she seemed to be a strong, female role model. Plus, she was Korean, and I always got excited about older, sister-like women. 

One morning, during a company run, I happened to be running next to her. Whenever we had a company, battalion or brigade (i.e., different echelons/levels of Army units) run, I would participate in singing cadences; it wasn’t because I was great at it, but because a small group of us (usually the same soldiers)  had an understanding that it was our way of not only motivating our soldiers and leading by example, but also helping each other out.

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If anyone has ever tried singing cadences at the top of their lungs while running three to five miles (depending on the type of run), they will know that it’s no walk in the park. After singing a few cadences, you become very relieved when a battle buddy runs out to replace you and help you catch your breath. So it was like a tradition, a way of bonding.

Well, when I was getting ready to replace one of my battle buddies, WO Cho (false name) turned to me and said that she didn’t like singing cadences. I thought to myself, “Great. Now she’s probably going to think that I’m trying to prove something by going out there.”  But then, I decided to follow my heart, which told me to help out my coworker and not worry about what she might think of me.

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After the run, WO Cho approached me and said in a snide manner, “You’re better than me,” and then walked off. Although it initially made me feel bad, I realized that it didn’t matter. As long as God knew my heart, it didn’t matter what she thought of me. Well, things pretty much went downhill after that.

One day, she walked by my work area and said in her loud voice, “Life must be so easy to not have to live with kids!” I instantly knew she was referring to me. What she said after the run, I was able to brush off; however, those hurtful words were like gigantic daggers piercing through my heart.

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Living without my children is a huge void in my life that I often suppress; otherwise, I have a tendency to fall into deep depression. Being a workaholic during the week and running on my off days helped me to block out my hurt and move forward. She didn’t even know my situation, but she was very quick to judge me by what she knew of my basic background, to include the fact that my children were living with their father/my ex-husband.

I continued to carry feelings of guilt, unworthiness, injustice, sadness, and anger even more for years after that situation. I was already hard on myself as it was, but her words seemed permanently ingrained in my long-term memory. I usually don’t allow anyone to get away with being hurtful to me or others by speaking my mind, but I believed that I had deserved it, so I said nothing.

In addition to that, I also believe it was a cultural thing. The way I was raised in Korea, you show respect to those who are older than you, and one of those ways was not to speak your mind to them. And I’m sure she was very aware of this as well.

Strangely, she reminded me of my mother, who was also very aggressive with her communication style, and had this attitude that everyone had to walk on eggshells around her.

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On another occasion, WO Cho approached me while I was working. She whispered in her cunning manner, “You know, I was looking through all the test scores for the DLPT (Defense Language Proficiency Test, a test that linguists in the military have to take annually), and I noticed that you’re the only native Korean linguist who didn’t get a 3/3 (i.e., the highest score on the DLPT). You must be so ashamed of yourself.”

Once again, I felt that jab to the heart; however, this time, things were a bit different. I suddenly felt peace in my heart and clarity in my mind. I looked at her and gently replied with confidence, “Not really Ma’am. You see, I have never attended any Korean schools, and I was never formally taught Korean. I understand that you graduated from a Korean university, which explains your high score.

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I learned my speaking and listening skills from my mother and Korean relatives, and my cousins taught me how to write the Korean alphabet, but that was it. I pretty much learned how to read and write on my own with God’s help. So, I actually did great by obtaining a 3/2+ score (i.e., one score below the highest score).”

To my surprise, she became speechless, shook her head as if she understood, and walked away. And, she never made any of her little mean comments again.

After all those nights of watching me cry myself to sleep, God showed that he had my back. He helped me to BE courage and strength, and spoke through me with perfect words that changed WO Cho’s behavior. I felt so empowered by this experience.

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Understanding the Hurter

From my observations of her, I noticed that WO Cho had a constant need to prove how powerful and tough she was. She often spoke loudly so that everyone could hear her. She talkd about her networking skills and how she had so many connections.

She bragged about her PT test score (i.e., physical fitness test score), which wasn’t comparable to what younger females had to perform in order to max their scores (i.e., they had to do more sit-ups and push-ups and also run faster within a set time).

It was moments like that which made me realize that WO Cho had a strong need for recognition that she was a strong woman. The few females in my unit who actually scored the maximum score on the PT test didn’t have a need or desire to brag, which stems from true confidence. Rather, they focused on helping other soldiers improve and excel. 

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I believe WO Cho had a need to prove herself even more than the average, Army female soldier. I was able to relate with her in that aspect, because I, too, understood that it was hard to be a very short, Asian female in a leadership position in the U.S. Army.

Asian females in leadership roles in the Army who were passive, soft-spoken and lacking confidence had a difficult time with the Army life, especially being surrounded by mostly Caucasian, alpha-personality type, males who usually supported one another like a pack of wolves.

WO Cho was somewhat of a reflection of me. It’s like we both had this need that we could “hang” with the boys…meaning, we could do just as great as them if not better…so they better not disrespect us. It was a defense mechanism.

The difference between us was, I didn’t have the need or desire to go around and say hurtful comments to lower enlisted soldiers. I was tough on my soldiers to show up to their place of duty, to keep their barracks clean, to do well mentally, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually, but not to hurt them.

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I also realized that her comment about my DLPT score could have possibly stemmed from a cultural perspective. She basically told me what a typical Korean mother or teacher would say to someone who didn’t excel on an exam. Generally, Koreans can be some high achievers, and they usually didn’t get there by receiving gentle, loving encouragement. Sometimes it works; I mean,  look what they did with their economy after the Korean War!

However, this strong need and desire to over achieve in an aggressive manner can be a weakness as well as a strength. Korea has a very high suicide rate among students for a reason. The competition to excel in academics is fierce and unhealthy. One of my cousins committed suicide when she was in high school, and I wrote a post about it a while back called, “Shock.” 

When I was in elementary school, I recall one of my aunts hitting my two cousins on their hands with a ruler for not excelling in their exams. When it was about to turn into a full-blown beating, I got in-between them and my aunt and begged my aunt to not hurt them….and she didn’t. My cousins did the same for me when they came to visit my house and I got into trouble with my mother. My aunt and my mother only knew how to express tough love (the way the were raised), but only wanted the best for us. 

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I have no doubt that WO Cho was raised in a similar manner. She had it in her to excel in life, and perhaps that was her way of trying to motivate me; maybe it was the only way she knew how to push me to do better.

It’s also understandable why Koreans in general are highly competitive, hard-working, and strive for the best; they’ve suffered much in the past (mentally, physically and emotionally) from being occupied and oppressed by other countries, and they learned to become strong survivors who demand nothing but the best from life, and are willing to earn it.

Though their intentions are usually good, their actions are sometimes unhealthy. The more we (regardless of our culture and background) break free from expressing hurtful words and behaving aggressively to get what we want, and remember to love ourselves and others more gently, the more evolved humanity will become; hence, creating a Heaven on Earth.

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Recognizing the Gifts for Hurtee

WO Cho helped me to see who I was, and who I wasn’t, and I thank her for that. I’m reminded that we cross paths with everyone for a reason. They are all gifts from God (even the ones disguised in dark packages) who help us to better define ourselves through them; and thus, helping us to  remember more of who we truly are, each a part of God/Goddess.

I’m continuously reminded that some people behave in a negative manner because of the illusion that they actually lack something, when the reality is that they lack nothing, since they are all part of the Divine. Their insecurity in themselves may cause them to be jealous because they believe that another might “outshine” them.

Rather than understanding that two candles shine brighter than one, they believe that another’s bright light might extinguish theirs. This belief system stems from fear and that we are separate, rather than from love and that we are all one.

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WO Cho also helped me to confirm that when a soldier volunteers to sing cadences while running, a confident leader praises that soldier for being highly motivated. When a confident leader identifies that a subordinate soldier has a lower than average test score, s/he helps motivate that soldier to achieve a higher score by giving encouragement and hope.

Choosing Open Communication

Looking back, I realize that an honest and loving communication may have resolved all these hurtful experiences, or even prevented them. Sometimes it’s worth taking a moment to resolve possible misunderstandings. I’ve had many experiences where I would surprise others by asking for clarification when there seemed to be a misunderstanding, or just asking to talk to them about a perceived problem.

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I was told by some of my coworkers and friends in the Army that most people in the Military Intelligence community are not used to such open communication, as ironic as that may sound, considering their field; but rather, most smiled to each other’s faces and talked behind each other’s back. 

When I learned about this, I chose the direct route. To my surprise, the results were amazing. Most people I talked to about possible misunderstandings chose to be honest with me and also mentioned that they appreciated my honesty with them.

I learned that most people truly desire to communicate more openly. It’s just that the people I worked with were so used to not trusting others, since this was the norm in our “secretive” work environment. Granted, there were some gossipers, but they exist everywhere…not just in the Intelligence Community.

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Colorful Possibilities

If it wasn’t for the cultural influence, and my fear of a negative reaction from WO Cho, I believe I would’ve approached her as well. And who knows what countless things could result from interactions that stem from love. The more aware we become, the more we can be proactive rather than reactive, and choose to BE love rather than act from fear.

Had I explained to WO Cho, before I ran out to help my battle buddy, that I was going out to help him so that he could catch a breath, maybe she would’ve understood rather than think that I was trying to look or be better than her. Or even when she said, “You’re better than me,” I could’ve taken a few minutes to undue the misunderstanding.

Had I pulled her aside when she made the comment about people who don’t have to live with their children, and talked to her in a gentle manner about how her comment made me feel, maybe she would’ve had a chance to explain herself.

Had I been completely honest to her about how she made me feel in any of those situations, perhaps I wouldn’t have carried negative feelings towards her. Maybe she would’ve apologized. Maybe she would’ve shared her side of the story. Who knows! We’ll never know unless we try.

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Maybe in her eyes, she thought I was some cocky NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) who wanted to show off by singing cadences, a heartless mother who abandoned her children, and a lazy Korean linguist who didn’t try hard enough to score the maximum score on the DLPT. In my eyes at the time, she was just being a mean person that wasn’t worth my time.

Perspective: The Golden Key

It’s all about one’s perspective. From our own perspective, we each believe that we’re “right” or “good” or “just.” This would be all fine and dandy if we lived alone on an island, and our hurtful words and/or actions didn’t affect anyone. However, when our judgment becomes clouded, because we think we have all the answers, we can hurt others and push them away. We then separate as human beings rather than unite as humanity.

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Sometimes, when people have been hurt, and didn’t get a chance to heal in a healthy way, they don’t know any better than to hurt others. They usually justify their behavior by believing that the world owes them for their past suffering, or…they actually believe that they’re not being hurtful.

They usually end up blaming others, souls who are strong enough to take their hurt and still love them because they intuitively know that they’re ONE. Even Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

For instance, I strongly believe that my mother abused me (physically, verbally, emotionally and somewhat sexually) because she was abused herself. My mother once said to me when I was in high school (while she was drunk), “Well, well, well…look at you, studying as if you’re going to be something one day.”

I strongly believe that my grandmother said something similar to her when she was young, which explains why she was so resentful towards my grandmother and often made comments like, “She only cares about her sons.” Plus, my grandmother pulled my mother out of school when she was only 13 years old, and told her that she didn’t need school, but that she had to work in order to help support the rest of the huge family. I do recall my grandmother being pretty sarcastic every now and then.

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Choosing to see my mother from another perspective, understanding her, and having compassion for her helped me to forgive her and continue to love her. However, I’ve made it clear to her that I will no longer allow her to continuously abuse me verbally and emotionally; and that’s choosing to love myself as well.

In addition, understanding that my grandmother also experienced a lot of heartbreak and suffering herself helps me to forgive her for how she treated my mother as well. Had my mother imagined my grandmother’s suffering, and chose to be more understanding and forgiving, perhaps the cycle of abuse from one generation to another would’ve ended with her.

Like I told my soldiers once, if we had the technology and opportunity to go back in time and witness our loved one’s suffering, we would truly have more compassion for them.

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I once asked a girlfriend in my early twenties why she treated our waitress like crap, especially when we were waitresses ourselves. She replied that it was because that’s how she was treated as a waitress.

She was hurting, and that was her defense mechanism. I explained to her that it should be the opposite. When others hurt us, we should learn that it doesn’t feel good; therefore, choose not to do it to others.

When we make an effort to understand why someone might say or do something hurtful, we can form compassion for them. Compassion leads to forgiveness…forgiveness leads to acceptance, and acceptance can ultimately lead to unconditional love.

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When Others Continue To Be Hurtful

When we make an effort to communicate with one another in a loving, non-judgmental and honest manner, we open a door that allows light to shine through so that healing can take place. Miracles can happen. Granted, sometimes, we can put forth these efforts, but the other person may still choose to react negatively. 

I learned the hard way that that’s a sign to just walk away and let them be, especially if they are continuously negative. Because if someone is determined to stay negative, only they can choose to change for the better.

We can’t force anyone to change and be positive. And they have every right to BE whoever they wish to be, and we have every right to not be around their negativity. At least we put forth the effort to make peace with them.

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When negative people are ready to receive God’s healing, truth, wisdom, peace, love, and joy, they will at the perfect time. As Joel Osteen stated in one of his messages, “Be with people who will celebrate you, and not just tolerate you.” We deserve the very best in life, and no one and nothing has to stop us.

A wise friend once reminded me to love myself first, and that everything else will fall into place. As long as we know in our hearts that we’re being our best, nothing outside of us can change that experience of who we are.

I saw another one of Joel Osteen’s messages today which inspired me as usual. I’m not religious, but I believe in spirituality, which encompasses some aspects of religion (like God’s love), and I love how Pastor Osteen teaches and heals with so much positive energy:

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#556, A No-Stick Anointing

There will always be people who don’t understand you, those that are critical and find fault. It’s very easy to let their lack of approval stick to you and change who God created you to be.

But in this empowering message, Joel will teach you how you can be strong in who God made you to be and move past those who’ve hurt you. Even Jesus Himself had to learn how to move past those who criticized, were disrespectful, and didn’t approve of Him. Instead of using your energy to gain others’ approval, you will learn how to look past these distractions, run your own race, and let God take care of those who oppose you.

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A Message of Appreciation

Thank you God/Goddess/Spirit for helping us to soon be in balance with our masculine and feminine energies within each of us as a soul, and as collective souls of humanity.

May we embrace the ALL of us, the “I” and “We” and duality. May we BE loving and loved, compassion and passion, creativity and creation, thoughts/feelings/images and expression, gentleness and strength, positive power, peace, truth, freedom, wisdom, nurturance and protection, humbleness and confidence, healing, rising, abundance and sharing, giving and receiving, understanding, accepting, forgiving, rejoicing, celebrating and just Being all that we were meant to become.

Male and Female Energy

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~ by Bobbie on November 6, 2012.

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