One evening I sat in a beautiful civic performance hall after a play, listening to the low background noise of people chatting, congratulating performers, discussing the show as they slowly made their way out to their cars.
It was at this time that I looked down toward the stage and witnessed possibly the most loving act I have ever seen. It was two women, both in their 20’s, standing together, when suddenly the younger one reached up violently and grabbed the hair of her older sister.
It wasn’t completely unexpected. This was a performance by a group of special needs young adults, and the younger sister was one of the performers, but I can only imagine how painful it must have been for the older sister. She was obviously pulling rather hard.
I expected to see some sort of scuffle as the older woman reacted to the assault. But instead what I saw melted my heart as she patiently sat and allowed her younger sister to violently hold her.
In that moment I saw the truth I hadn’t immediately seen: that the older woman knew that her sister was doing the best she could. She knew that in reaching out and grabbing her hair — in hurting her — her sister was actually expressing how important she was.
This is exactly how the people in our life who love us, who need us, react in their own times of crisis. They reach out and hold on to us, and often in that act, they hurt us. But if we can see with “bigger” eyes, we can recognize the act for what it is: an expression of need.
When those closest to you do things that hurt you, if you can avoid reacting and instead take a moment to truly see them and see what their actions mean, you can see that, in their pain, their goal isn’t to hurt you, but that they’re simply doing their best in their attempt to find comfort from you.
Their actions that hurt you are actually an expression of love.
For me, this was my father in his final years of life as his mind and body deteriorated. Who is it in your life? Do you have someone who unintentionally causes you pain in their attempt to draw comfort and love from you? Or do you possibly do this to someone else yourself? How can you change your reactions to cause less pain and still get what it is you’re needing?
Give it some thought and make some adjustments to find more happiness.
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