by Jim McDonald, LIMC

"You hurt me." “He hurt me.” “She hurt me.” “They hurt me.”

It seems so, doesn’t it—that another can be responsible for our emotional hurting. So much of what we see in movies and on television, read in books or magazines (let’s not even talk about the celebrity magazines, ugh) seems to constantly reinforce the popular notion that others can be, and are, responsible for someone’s hurting. We are taught it in just about every facet of life and yet upon deeper inspection, and with a little willingness to be a Student of Experience™, one discovers it is actually IMPOSSIBLE for someone else to be the cause of our emotional hurting.

No one can hurt another emotionally. Each of us is responsible for our own feelings. It's that simple, but we complicate it out of fear and years of training in learning to project our story that the other is to blame for how, or what we feel. We project our unsettling feeling out onto another in an unconscious effort to “lighten our load”. We are aligned again with ego, listening to its ranting, telling us the other is responsible in an effort to sustain itself by assuring us we will feel better if we unload some of the experience.

Let’s consider this line of thinking a little deeper. I have had experiences, and I’ll bet many of you have as well, when I have said something with the intent to be loving, supportive and kind only to have it be received by the other as hurtful. How can this be? Am I responsible for "hurting" the other even though my motivation and intention was loving? Well, if I am, and quit often these days society is telling me more and more that I am, then that puts me in a precarious position. It means I must continually guess how each person will receive what I say; I must decide for them what they will find hurtful or offensive. This makes no sense once one ponders its paradox for even a moment.

It is impossible for us to know how anyone will interpret anything we say. In fact, attempting to do so puts us right back in projection as we are now projecting our story of the other onto them, rather than being open to who they are in this moment. It also keeps us in the past, as that is all we have to go on when attempting to define how a person may or may not receive our words. The trap is dualistic in that the behavior keeps us from being open to who they are right now, and it limits them to the frame of our past-based story of who they were. Essentially, from this perspective, we would never be able to see them for who they are today because we are now only able to see who we think they are based on who we think they were. The whole thing gets very messy, very quickly.

Yes, we can make general inferences of things that might be received as hurtful based on socially acceptable guidelines and standards, but we are not talking about that. If that is coming up for you as an argument, just notice that resistance is there—notice its efforts to pull you away from what could be a potentially freeing awareness. Let it be, but do your best to be aware of it as you consider the alternatives we are exploring together now. And yes, there are some things everyone would probably feel hurt by hearing, but even in those cases, it is not the speaker who is responsible for the feeling. They may be responsible for poor judgment or misguided attempts at honesty, but again, that is not the point of our looking today. What we are exploring here is the projection of guilt onto another so that we don't have to experience our own feelings, let alone take responsibility for them.

"You hurt me" is an attack. Underneath the surface, where we are often unwilling or afraid to look, it’s an attack designed to hurt and manipulate. When we believe it, we are imprisoned in the suffering of blind reaction. “You hurt me” blinds us to ourselves and transfers ownership for our feelings onto another when in reality, the other has very little to do with our experience.

Finding the willingness to see this comes from having the willingness to go inward and attend to me, rather than reacting outward the moment feelings emerge. Staying “in” the feelings, letting them live without judgment that they are good or bad, and letting them show us who we really are, is what Student of Experience™ is all about. Clarity comes from being with the feelings and sensations, and in clarity we are shown that it is always our interpretation, our meaning, of what is said, that causes our suffering.

If someone in your ‘friend’ box called you an ugly purple monster, and they did it with the utmost hurtful intent, you would most likely not experience much hurt regardless of their motivation. But, if that same ‘friend’ said you are unloving and selfish, you would most likely feel some sense of hurt.

Why is this, you might be asking… The answer is simple - you don't believe you are an ugly purple monster.

Author's Bio: 

Jim has recognized personal victory over his lifelong struggle with childhood codependency and adult addiction through the active synthesis of honesty, spirituality and deep self awareness into his daily living. A profound awakening process began for Jim in the early 2000’s and today his developing practice of suspending judgment is key to Jim's rediscovery of inner peace.

His education, training and life influences have shaped Jim into a dynamic and inspirational "Student of Experience". He is a guiding force, sharing his powerful message of self-awareness and inner peace through printed materials, presentations, workshops and coaching sessions.

Visit his web site to learn more about Jim and his message.