What Do We Do If We Get Hurt in community?

Woman walking a path with the words, @What do we do if we get hurt in Community? The Encouragers Life'

I have been there.

Not knowing what went wrong.

Wondering if I was the issue.

Replaying the event over and over to try and figure out what I did.

Getting hurt in a community is common.  It doesn't make it right, but it does mean we are not alone when we struggle with togetherness.

We are a collection of humans that misunderstand, are undergoing growth and can become frustrated with each other.  

What I have learnt about community through my many, many problems and scars from it, can maybe encourage you not to give up quite yet, or, to embark on a journey to discover the people who you can truly do life with.

That’s start at the beginning. 

What is community?

It can take many forms. For most, the first community we have are our families. We gain insights on human interactions and social cues from the folks we spend the formative years with. 

Either we make a list of what we want to replicate in the future communities we will choose to be part of like, friendships, relationships, best friends, extended family, work and school mates etc.  or we make a note of the things we wish to avoid living through again.

I have had great experiences in community but I also carry horrific memories from community too.

The thing I have come to realise is that community can hurt us, but it is also part of the solution to our healing.

It would be easier to say, ‘you are better off on your own,’ or that, ‘you don’t need anyone to live a great life,’ but from my personal experience, that’s not the case. 

We are not better off alone and we do need people in our lives in order to absorb everything from our experiences of being a human. I have discovered that it is part of the big picture of our lives.

I have lived with and without community and there were times that it was equally difficult. 

With community I found it difficult to fit in. I always felt tolerated rather than respected and in hindsight I have to wonder how much of that was to do with the people I selected for my community at that time. 

When you just want to love and have a good time, you tend to expect that to be reciprocated from those you invest in. When that doesn’t happen you may be inclined to tear yourself apart in an effort to answer the question, ‘what is wrong with me?’ 

I spent over 30 years asking myself that question and realised that the right people in my friendship and relationship circles could make or break my emotional well-being. 

Being alone wasn’t intolerable to me. It’s a lot easier to avoid strife when all you have to worry about is yourself, but it just didn’t feel right.

I am quite happy to be alone but I don’t think it promotes an enriched life. When I think about how I functioned alone and how things are now that I have found a safe community to grow and enjoy, I can see the benefits of togetherness.  I can see that if I remained alone, I would have missed out on so much.

I have found that, although community can hurt, devastate and distress us, it also has the power to be part of an enhanced life.

Personalised Clothing

I have become aware that I was shielding myself from people getting too close.

It was as though I was wearing a garment sown together by the thread of past experiences and encounters with people.

Some parts were sown together with positive thread. Some parts were held together with negative strands making the protective layer, which I used to navigate relationships.

I came to a point where I felt that the jumper or garment of past experiences was too heavy to continue to wear. I was no longer able to keep my walls and boundaries up as my inner self craved friendship with safe individuals.

The thing about clothing is at some point there will always be a loose tread somewhere. 

The loose thread can be different things to different people.

It can be hope that things will get better.

It could be determination to continue and succeed.

It might be self love and regaining confidence.

The loose thread is a weakness to the garment but a strength to the wearer.

The loose thread is a way out.

I had to choose whether to bind up the garment with the thread or let the jumper be pulled and unravelled. 

I choose to let the heaviness be taken from me. 

One thread at a time. 

One experience at a time I allowed positive interactions with people, worthy of investment, to take away the heavy protective layer that I had worn for so long.

Through hope, determination, confidence, love and openness we can throw off the things that oppress us. 

We adapt to our surroundings because of our experiences, but just because I had a bad run with people didn’t mean that I was useless and not good enough to be someone’s friend. It just meant that I was designed to be in a community that had an ‘all in’ mentality. I was made for people that wanted forever connections. And not only that, they wanted me around. 

It took me over 30 years to find it.

It took me years of wondering.

It took me years of self doubt.

Years of loneliness.

Years of heart ache.

Years of rejection.

But it also gave me fruitful friendships.

Great memories.

A warm place to come and gather with others.

Encouragement and well built friendships.

And the appreciation of arriving where I belong.

All of which was worth the pain.

All of which wouldn’t of happened if I didn’t go through the rejection.

All of which lead me to the people I now call, ‘my community.’

We all have one made for us.

We are designed to be part of something, somewhere.

We just have to find them.

If you need support do reach out to someone or an organisation that can help.  If you would like to share your story or contact me please feel free to private message me on our Facebook page or on Instagram.  You can also email me using theencouragerslife@gmail.com address. 

Be sure to check out our next article here on ‘The Encouragers Life.’

 Article written by J. Bingham

Copyright 2022


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