The Jack’s Winning Words blog recently used this quote – “Hurt people hurt people!” (Aubrey Fontenot)
Jack went on to write about people who were bullied themselves sometimes turning into bullies and shared a “feels-good” story about a bully who was befriended by the person that he was trying to bully.
In the broader sense, people who are hurt quite often take their hurt out on others by trying to hurt them – they share their pain. Hurts can come in many forms – a social snub, a painful breakup of a relationship, bullying by others, the sudden loss of a loved one and many other personal tragedies that hurt. Many of those forms of hurt can be passed on to others by the one is is initially hurt. Don’t hurt, get help.
The most common reactions to a threat or hurt are fight or flight. The ones who hurt others because of their hurt are exercising a form of fight – they are lashing back at the world and those around them. The alternative is often flight, which can lead to withdrawal and depression in some people. Don’t hurt, get help.
So, what is a third alternate? Maybe the best thing is to get help. That help can come in the form of professional help – a counselor or therapist – or it may just come from a trusted friend with whom you can share the pain or from your pastor. In any case, having someone to talk with about the hurt can immediately help. It takes away the loneliness aspect of the pain. Don’t hurt, get help.
If the hurt is bullying, most schools and businesses now have programs to report such behavior and get help resolving the problem. There is no shame in reporting a bully. You are helping both yourself and that person when you do so. Don’t hurt, get help.
If the problem goes beyond bullying, or maybe involves inappropriate sexual behavior and work, school, in athletics or at church; there is now heightened awareness of those issues and certainly no longer any social stigma involved with being brave enough to report it to authorities. There is no need to remain quiet or to be embarrassed about reporting someone for inappropriate behavior. The #MeToo era has removed the stigma and ushered in an era of empowerment for victims. Don’t hurt, get help.
The loss of a loved one can often result in the person who is left behind becoming withdrawn and maybe even depressed about life without the departed. The pain of the loss is real and It needs to be acknowledged. A period of grief is natural; however, life goes on and it is important to put the memory of the person in its proper place in your mind and move on. Often people find the help that they need after suffering the loss of a loved one in their faith. Your pastor may be the best person to turn to for that help. Don’t hurt, get help.
What all of these examples have in common is that they do not involve you turning your hurt into pain for others. They don’t involve lashing out or bullying others. They don’t involve sharing your pain or loss by hurting others; and they are not about withdrawing into a dark place. They do all involve getting help with the pain. Don’t hurt, get help.
A first step to getting help is often admitting to yourself that you need help. A few quiet moments spent in prayer is often the best time to make that admission to God and to yourself. Perhaps something as simple as, “God, I cannot deal with this alone. Give me the courage and strength to seek the help that I need to deal with this hurt.” With God at your side it is much easier to seek the help that you need. Don’t hurt, get help.
A surprising outcome for those who get the help that they need to deal with a hurt is that many end up helping others. They find satisfaction and fulfillment working with people who are going through what they went through and passing on the message. You often see news stories about parents who lost a child to some accident or disease or other cause creating foundations to work to prevent or cure those causes of loss and pain. They have progressed beyond getting help to giving help. They are living the message – Don’t hurt, get help.
For them the message has become Helped people, help people.