I’ve spent a lifetime studying human nature, person-to-person behavior, the good and the bad. I am not a psychological professional – only an interested bystander. But after 40-some years of observation and contemplation, I’ve decided that human conduct boils down to two different sides of the same coin — Heartbreakers and the Heartbroken.
Each one of our interactions with another can be classified as positive or negative. Damaging or uplifting. Cruel or compassionate. All reminiscent of the philosophy of Yin and Yang.
The Yin and Yang, from ancient Chinese philosophy, represents opposites. But the underlying theme of the philosophy expresses the interconnectedness of our world. We would not have one without the other. Without shadow, there is no light. Without negative, there is no positive. Without cold, there is no hot. Etc.
It is a simple philosophy that is relevant today. It is in the interplay between people at work, people at play, people at any activity they engage it. We are either heartbreakers or we are the heartbroken. We are the instigators of pain or we are the purveyors of positive reinforcement.
While it is easy to label one good and one bad, we might step back and take a more holistic approach. One that brings about growth. Caveat: In no way does this excuse the evil-doer from purposeful and extreme atrocity.
The Role of the Heartbroken
When someone hurts us, it can be intentional, unintentional, or simply a misunderstanding. There is an opportunity for growth in all of these situations. If it is intentional, you may need to look at the type of people you attract and allow into your inner circle. There are many reasons why we might attract the “wrong crowd.” Repeated incidents of hurtful people in your life may signal self-esteem issues or other personal attitudes in which you are harming yourself. Finding this out can signal a need to see a qualified therapist as the most efficient way to deal with these kinds of issues.
If it is unintentional, you have an obligation to talk to the offender. There may be circumstances in their lives that caused them to lash out. You may be the target, but not the cause of the problem.
A misunderstanding is the best situation. You must talk to the person who hurt you and share your feeling of hurt, betrayal, etc. These offenders need to learn how their inadvertent behavior caused pain. They are usually the ones who will be the first to apologize and make it right.
The Role of Heartbreaker
If the shoe Is on the other foot, and you are the person causing pain, there is opportunity here too. Sometimes it is hard to see our own failings and shortcomings. They often play out in unintended ways and toward innocent targets. Judgementalism, self-centeredness, arrogance, dishonesty, jealousy, sarcasm, are just a few of the undesirable characteristics we may find within ourselves. If you truly are on a path of personal growth, negative-behavior traits are parts of ourselves we need to work on. Hopefully, you have an aware target who has the courage to confront you in a loving and compassionate manner.
Whether the heartbroken or the heartbreaker, there is opportunity for growth on both sides of the coin. Through the yin and yang of human behavior we become more heart-centered. In this state, our best selves arise. Embrace both, with genuine discernment and forgiveness, to see clearly the higher purpose of pain in human behavior.
Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson