Woman In Thought by @karitribble via Instagram
There is this trending philosophy right now that says we should thank people for the painful experiences they give us because it makes us stronger and more resilient. It’s a way to show compassion and forgiveness. If someone hurts us, the concept is to thank them for the experience that allowed us the opportunity to overcome the pain and be better people because of it.
It sounds great. It sounds evolved and like a “bigger person” approach. However, it also sounds dishonest. Who really feels this way? I think it’s more of an attempt to bring yourself to feeling this way. And maybe for some, they can actually achieve to feel that way, but for many — there’s no way in hell.
I understand the importance of having compassion and forgiveness, but I believe this particular perspective may do more damage than good.
I think the people we need to give thanks to in these particular instances, are the people who told us how to prepare for when we get hurt. Like our parents, grandparents, friends, and other loved ones. We should give thanks to those who tell us how to overcome the pain. The ones who don’t hurt us in order to teach us, but the ones who prepare us for when it does happen. That feels much more genuine and something that has become lost for some reason.
If we thank people for the negative experiences they show us then I think we contribute to creating an enabling undertone that just perpetuates the behavior of this particular person or situation. I believe it doesn’t hold people accountable for their actions and doesn’t give THEM the opportunity to become better people and stop the negative behavior going forward.
Don’t you appreciate being called out when you’re being an idiot? …
And what about the beauty of standing up for oneself? Why do we think it’s a horrible thing to be assertive and let people know when they upset us? I used to be terrified of doing that. Guess what? The more I stayed silent, the more this behavior kept happening to me by people around my life.
There is a way to do it all. You can stand up for yourself, you can still have compassion and forgive, and you can also thank the experience for the lesson to grow and become a better person…by thanking the appropriate people who helped prepare you for those traumas.
So I am going to jump right out and say it:
NO, I DON’T THANK YOU FOR HURTING ME. In fact, I think you’re a jerk for doing it and I don’t like you very much. At the same time, I know that you are a human being and that you have your own struggles. I’m sure that the pain you inflicted is a byproduct of some sort of pain within yourself. SO, when I’m ready and the anger has subsided, I’ll do this forgiveness meditation by Vishen Lakhiani about you and let it go.
And when you feel ready, let it go.