Monday, April 9, 2012

Not That Strong

Someone said something to me this morning while we were discussing how other people's assumptions can really hurt.  

This person mentioned a scene from the  M*A*S*H series - M*A*S*H being a long-time favorite of mine. In particular, there was this one scene that involved Major Margaret Houlihan.  Her nurses were constantly breaking regulations, going behind her back, and not being honest with her.  Finally when she caught them in a huge deception, she was angry and they were defensive - and the truth came out.  She felt excluded.  And they made the assumption that she would not want to be included.  And ... it hurt.  And ... she cried.  Tough as she was, she was still human and it hurt that others were labeling her and shutting her out.  The person I was talking to said, "That's you."  

It hit home.  In one particular sphere of influence, it has been a long-standing source of sadness for me that I've not even been thought of in a certain capacity, that others who have less experience than I do have been parachuted into something I've wanted to do for a long time, over and over again.  They have become the new darlings, a seemingly endless string of them, while I do what I do - and quite well - behind the scenes. Not that they are not qualified; they are.  But so am I - and nobody seems to have noticed, thinking that I would not even be interested because, after all, all I've ever done is that one thing.  Maybe it's because I'm not in the accepted social groups; maybe it's because I'm not interested in the same things as others; maybe it's because I detest playing the political game and prostituting myself to the powers that be.  For whatever reason, the result is the same.  Passed over, rejected, ignored, excluded. 

And it hurts. 

It's supposed to hurt.

Vulnerability.  I've heard it condemned as a weakness.  I've heard people try to denounce the experience of emotion - especially what they call "negative" emotion - as something to be avoided, not trusted, and somehow evil.  

I have a different take on that.  I believe that - as uncomfortable and unpleasant as so-called negative emotions are - they are God-given (otherwise, why would we be hard-wired with them?)  To deny them, to suppress them or to try to get rid of them, is doing a disservice to the human spirit.  They were created as temporary spiritual states designed specifically to be an early-warning system to alert us to dangerous situations: boundaries being crossed, injustice, manipulation, and abuse.  Not trusting our emotions can lead us into succumbing to these undesirable conditions, or allow us to remain there way too long.  Listening to our feelings can help us to figure out what the real problem is, why it is, and what our part (if any) is in allowing the situation to develop.  

And listening to the negative ones - and allowing them to help us look after ourselves - allows us the capacity to experience the not-so-unpleasant emotions.  You see, if we shove down or cut off our "negative" emotions, our psyches don't distinguish between bad and good - so it shuts them ALL down. This leaves us emotionally stunted, unable to experience joy, compassion, or love.  

So ... I would rather be hurt - and know it - than to deny my feelings and shut myself off from working through the injury and being healed from it.

1 comment:

  1. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32) :D