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As imperfect people in an imperfect world, I think we all know hurt is an inevitable part of human experience. However, it doesn’t mean we know how to deal with it very well. Instead, we do a number of things that not only don’t heal us but also create more problems for us down the line.
We try to ignore it.
We try and deny it.
We try to distract ourselves from it with social media and entertainment.
We try to suppress it.
We try to numb it with food (especially sweets), alcohol, legal or illegal drugs.
We project it onto others.
We turn on the people who’ve been there for us and have made us feel safe.
We make other people accountable and responsible for fixing our pain.
Sometimes we do these things without realizing it. Other times we’re fully aware of our poor coping mechanisms but are too hurt to care.
Why are we like this? Well, first of all, hurt hurts. But not because we’re weak or anything like that. Hurt hurts because we have legitimate, fundamental, internal needs. God in his strategy and intentionality designed us this way on purpose. We thrive when our deep, fundamental needs are met. We hurt when they’re not. Striking this balance drives us to create and maintain relationships with each other. It also motivates our need to seek him.
We have deep needs for:
We are made in the image of God, and his first work was creation. We too need to create something that we can give in our lives, however symbolic. We need to feel like we are contributing meaningfully to our world.
Hurt is what happens when our deep needs go unfulfilled. It’s the emotional fallout when these needs are disregarded, disrespected, or outright violated. Hurt, therefore, is self-protective. It acts as our first line of defense to psychologically threatening situations. Its goal is to alert us when there appears to be a problem in hopes of giving us a chance to fix things before permanent damage is done. Hurt feels like a hole in our heart . . . because it is.
Adapted from Why Do I Feel Like This? by Peace Amadi. Copyright (c) 2021 by Chynyere Peace Amadi. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com
InterVarsity Press (IVP) has been publishing thoughtful Christian books for more than 70 years. Our books equip readers to grow spiritually, engage with the world we live in, and learn more about the life of faith.
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