Love Hurts

love hurts, relationships, gary davis, hurt, pain, Love Hurts

Being in love is not for the faint of heart. Loving has become a dangerous enterprise in Western Culture. Expressing love, no matter how up-front or innocent, is open to interpretations of manipulation, harassment and aggression.

Let’s start with our own love-wounds. If you have not been hurt through love, you have not loved, or allowed another to love you. Hurt is part of life: it gives joy its perspective. So if you are guarding your heart, sadly, you also have given up hope of ever trusting or loving at another time. The longer this continues the harder it will be for you to ever love, or be loved, again.

Some of those I’ve counseled have constructed such a protective shell about them that they can barely bring themselves to speak. Fear overtakes their lives and they retreat even deeper into their reclusive shell. Others shut down all and any emotion; no sadness, no elation, no joy, no sorrow. They become the living-dead.

If you are tired of feeling no pain, no joy, no love, try implementing one of these action plans.

  1. Find a friend. Anyone. They need to be someone with whom you feel safe, more at ease.
  2. Spend time in sunlight. No, seriously. Vitamin D works wonders on the soul. Take a walk while you’re at it. The exercise will rid your body of the toxins that accompany the pain.
  3. Talk with a counselor about any abuse. Remember, neglect is abuse too. Whether from a father, a sibling, or a bully, or a spouse, your scars run deep. Don’t let them fester and feed your dark side.
  4. Find an empowerment group. You’re not the only one who’s been hurt. Others have been through the same or even worse pain. Bond together with them for mutual building. [Not bitching.]
  5. Come along side someone who has been hurt. That’s right; in your misery reach out a caring hand to someone else. It may do more for you than it does for them.
  6. Cut back on sugar. Sugar is probably one of the most poisonous substances in our diet, causing everything from depression, to heart disease, to early dementia. Eat fruit. I am dead serious.
  7. If possible, confront the cause(s) of your pain. Not alone. Take an advocate or an arbiter; especially if the cause is an abuser. Actually, with an abuser, the best course of action may be a simple old snail-mail with no return address. If the cause is a former boyfriend/girlfriend…, well, they probably will not want to meet with you. There is always email, though. Be kind…, and truthful.

For future encounters, please keep in mind that love is always a risk, even more so in these early decades of the Twenty-first Century. It beckons you to put out a little, and then a little more. Reciprocation will tell you if you are on the right path. Do be careful. But do take the risk. Yes, you may be hurt again. But you will be wiser and stronger to handle it this time around.

On a personal note, I have been hurt by people so much in life that I have lost track. And that is a good thing. If I hung on for resolution of every painful experience in life, I would be a useless blot on the DNA scan of the Universe. So now I struggle to live without resolution, yes, but with great hope and trust in the God of my faith. He has always proven to be faithful, safe, and, for me, a little dangerous. It’s just hard sometime.

NEXT DISCUSSION:  Learning to Love Again.  

 Healing from the hurt,

Gary

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Getting lost

Lost, Thoreau, Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, risk, reflectionMost of us, at some time or another, will get lost. It may be as simple as getting lost on back roads or forgetting where your glasses are; or, more seriously, getting lost in life; that is, losing your sense of direction, purpose, and/or identity. In short, you no longer know where you are, who you are, or where you are heading.

A dead stop.

In the midst of that empty confusion certain questions start to arise—

How did I get here? What could I have done differently? How do I start to dig out of this mess? More importantly— How do I find myself again? Who am I now? What do I do next?

Anxiety starts to immobilize your spirit; you cannot take any action for fear of further failure. But you have to do something. Anything! Here are some of the things I’ve done when I’ve gotten lost.

1.      I start taking small steps. What are the little things you can definitely accomplish that will bring some semblance of stability or order to your life? Do that. Then do another one.

2.      Keep in mind that when you are lost everything is a risk. Things you used to do as a simple matter have now morphed into insurmountable monsters. Nonetheless, you must face those monsters to overcome them. I had to. And I corralled a cadre of friends to stand by me as I faced them.

3.      Don’t ask God to do for you what you must do yourself. He is definitely in charge. But we are not mindless robots. He expects us to act responsibly with the time He has given us.

4.      God can’t direct a parked car. Start moving. If it’s in the wrong direction, He’ll redirect you.

5.      Establish NEW points of reference for your journey. The former points of reference are gone; you’ve already passed them. If you want to find your way again, you’ll need to discover a whole new set of reference points to guide you. I find I need to cut back on my activities to give my mind, and heart, time to process the mental & emotional shift. What will most likely be the next sign along your path that you are getting back on track?

With all the variables we have to juggle these days it’s easy to get lost along the way. You have to work hard to get back on track. So get to it. Drive! You will not stay lost for long. [Proverbs 16:3.]

Honor God, honor people…, make a path,

  Gary

letting go…

So many different ingredients go into shaping our identity. Our place of origin, our class, life situation, our parents’ economic level, our peers, even our youngest memories, actions, and decisions, all blend into the mix that is us. In time they accumulate into a collective whole. For some, the God of the universe molds our clay to become a useful vessel in His hands. Yes, we do have a choice in the matter. But should we: and to what extent is it viable?

Good times become memories; friends form a part of our social fabric, another definer of our lives. Tragedies become memories too; that first girlfriend leaving you, the betrayal of a friend, the early loss of a parent. Being hit with the reality that we are not superman, not invincible, not the greatest & best at everything, not the center of the universe also goes into our collective psyche, further refining who we truly are, and not some projection of our imagination.

We hang onto these definers, both positive & negative, as a point of reference upon which we decide our future behavior, make our future decision, and define the “groove” of our lives. We settle in, based on how we arrived at this place in our journey. Ergo, we feel safe. Finally. Mostly. Sorta.

To be sure, there are some areas in our life which are best let go, we tend to hang onto those. Why? Because they provide a point of reference, a sense of safety, a history, memories. Healthy people move past the painful experiences, letting them go. They make their peace with the past. Others, not so much. Too many of us either live in the past where personal safety and happiness were part ‘n parcel to life. For them, moving forward, growing beyond, is too much of a risk.

Why do we seek to dwell in our memories and past experiences, even the great ones, when there is so much to discover around the corner, in a future full of possibilities? The good ol’ days just weren’t. We need to let go—of the hurt, the pain, and the what-could-have-been.

Letting go of anything is not often a simple matter.  But living in the past both robs us of great joy and elation in the present, and deprives us of our dreams for the future.

Let it go.

Have a nice week,

Gary

I Fear

It is horrible to imagine that some of us live in a constant state of debilitating fear. Some of our fears may be based on past experiences so traumatizing that they defy words. Other fear is so deeply embedded in our past that we do not ever remember its roots: it’s just there. Some people believe fear is actually here, right now, waiting to walk through that door, or when the phone rings, or in a chance encounter. Some of us fear future events—some founded, some dreaded, some, only imaginary.

Many of us carry fears that are irrational phobias; fear of flying, heights, being enclosed in a small space, spiders, of men, of women. They are fears with little basis in the real world—but they are real enough to those who have them. And that is real enough to affect how we live and move every day.

Of course, few of us are like Nik Wallenda, casually strolling through life as if it were a tightrope over Niagara Falls. We’re somewhere in between—taking calculated risks, pushing forward with fear and trepidation. And rightly so; it’s a cruel world out there. Everywhere! Dangerous.

Fear can often be conquered through trust. Where do we place our trust? What constitutes a safe, person, a safe faith, a safe place? A platoon leader, a counselor, a drinking buddy (or, someone for tea), home? There are so few places of safety these days; even fewer safe people. All of us, no matter the extent of our fear, need to establish a relationship with someone with whom we are safe. We need safe places as well. A safe faith is for those who know they are secure in the God who made them, no matter what. The fear is still very present; but somehow it is different for people of faith.

 The only way to overcome fear is to face it (preferably with your safe friend), head-on or gradually, and begin to establish a trust in the God who has made you. Deep fears are the hardest to conquer with trust; but if you are not pushing against them, and laying them before the God of the Universe, they will conquer you. Do NOT let them. You are made of better stuff. You need not do it alone, either. There is always a God in the heavens who calls you—

So do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

~Isaiah 41:10

‘Nough said,

Gary