… That’s the message I always find myself telling teens and even adults. A lot of the pain, sadness, and anger that you feel are not your fault. There have been people in your life that hurt you through their words and actions. Why did they do it? I don’t know. My only answer is that “hurt people, hurt people”. Whenever I’m working with teens who get high, join gangs, fight, hurt other kids with their words, it doesn’t take long to find out that their outward behavior is an expression of inward pain.
Every person I talk to that does something to harm themselves and their future has a story to tell about how someone let them down, disappointed them, abandoned them, hurt them with words or sometimes even hurt them physically. When no one steps in to help these kids who were victims, they become teenage perpetrators of the same behaviors that hurt them.
I know what it’s like to be that kid. The kid who’s been hurt, rejected, lied to, verbally abused and left to feel like nobody cares. Sometimes the only way to survive and keep going in spite of the pain is to say to yourself “you know what, nobody cares about me so I don’t care either!” That decision leads to a lot of bad decisions that result from acting like you don’t care.
The truth is that you do care. All of us care about how we are treated. It’s natural, we are human and our feelings get hurt sometimes. But don’t let hurt feelings harm your future. It took a long time for me to realize it was okay to admit that what people in my family did or said to me hurt and I was angry about it. Like you and like many teens today, I was hurt because I cared and until the people around me hurt me, I thought they cared too.
The key to moving on and healing is admitting that you do care, that it did hurt and that what happened to you was not your fault. Anyone can act like they don’t care but it takes courage to admit how you feel and let yourself experience the emotions that you’re supposed to feel. All of your feelings: sadness, anger, happiness and fear have a purpose. They are all normal. Feelings have a purpose and a role in helping you regain balance and control over your life. So when you suppress them or act like you don’t care then you are not giving yourself the opportunity to regain balance and control.
Everyone I know has been through some kind of rejection or sadness that was caused by someone else and they didn’t deserve it. You didn’t deserve the things that happen to you. The things that people did to you were unfair and wrong. The first thing you have to understand and believe is that it was not your fault, you didn’t deserve it and it shouldn’t have happened.
The good news is that you can overcome it. You can learn how to let it go and live a life full of peace and happiness. If you want it bad enough you can be free to be yourself no matter what other people think. Once you believe that you deserve better, you begin to live the life that you want and the life God wants you to have. It’s up to you. When you read God’s Graffiti: Inspiring Stories for Teens, check out the story about Jephthah and the one about Rahab. These are two people who found a way to overcome the pain of their past to live purpose filled futures.
After you read it, let me know what you think and if there was anything that helped you get on the path to pursue your God given purpose.