Sometimes you just wanna get all Bruce Lee on people

It’s hard to suffer in silence. As human beings we are just not wired that way. When I get hurt, the only thing that crosses my mind at that very moment and for many moments after that is to seek revenge. That’s the way of the world, right?

When someone disrespects you or your family there is retribution and someone is going to pay. That’s what I learned in corny old kung fu movies. It’s what I learned from Stanley and Blanche’s sadistic relationship in A Street Car Named Desire. It’s what I learned in history classes. It’s why we fight wars and impose our will on another human being. As humans we have a natural predisposition for vengeance when we are mistreated or when those whom we love are physically, verbally or emotionally harmed.

The truth is it’s just hard to walk away. It’s hard to say, “You hurt me, but I’m going to forgive you and forget that it ever happened.” In actuality, forgiveness is by far one of the hardest things to do because of our natural tendency to right a wrong, sometimes at all costs. Sometimes, that animosity towards another human being drives us to commit actions that we normally would never do and we cannot help it. We feel compelled to wallow in our loathing because we feel the guilt, the shame the violation of another person’s actions towards us or towards our loved ones.

Rosa Parks once asked the question, “Have you ever been hurt and the place tries to heal a bit, and you just pull the scar off of it over and over again?” That’s what enmity and revenge can do to a person. It gets under our skin; it permeates every aspect of our lives; it festers and aggravates us to the point that nothing else matters in the world except seeking our own justice.

I’ve felt that many times in my life. In hindsight I recall now how helpless, pitiful and pathetic I was when I felt wronged and needed reckoning. I spent every waking moment wondering how I can make another human being as miserable as I am. Nothing was going to get in my way. I was like Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon and all I wanted to do was get to O’Harra and Mr. Han for killing my sister. But in the process it nearly ruined every relationship I had and everything that was good in my life.

I’ve been there. I know how hard it is to swallow your pride, reassess life and move on in faith knowing that you have more to live for and you cannot be defined by one moment in your life when things just aren’t going your way. I also know that when someone is going through a tough time whether it’s in a marriage, a relationship with a troubled child, addiction, etc, the last thing the sufferer needs is someone telling them that they need to ‘take care of the problem’ or worse yet, forget about it and ignore the underlying issues.

For many years, my younger brother suffered in silence. He ended up taking the life of another human being as well as his own life. I know of dear friends and family members who have suffered many years from emotional and sometimes physical abuse. Some of them are too afraid to confront the issue. Others are taking a brave stand. And though it may take weeks, months or years to finally overcome the pain and suffering they have endured, I am confident that with the proper assistance and with continued support from family and friends, they will get through it.

Why do I bring this up? Because in the last year I’ve received many texts, phone calls or emails from people who are suffering and don’t know where to turn. I received a phone call just this evening from someone whom I love and care about very deeply. Life just seems like it is in constant turmoil right now because of poor and unhealthy choices and they have no clue where to turn and whom to ask for help.

I’m not qualified to help these individuals nor will I ever give them advice about how to proceed with picking up the pieces and moving forward. What counsel I do give is plain and simple:

1) Seek the advice of trained and qualified professionals – they are knowledgeable in identifying the issues you are having in your life and provide you with ways to cope with the hardship. They may not have all the answers. They may not have the right answers. But having someone to speak to, a third party that will listen to you without judging you or your actions is both comforting and liberating.

2) Mend your spirit – no matter what deity you worship or what dogma you conform to, exercising your faith by placing your heartache and pain in the hands of a spiritual being will help heal your soul. Forgiveness is a very tough pill to swallow. Having the spiritual and emotional fortitude to heal the pain and move forward will reinvigorate your soul and prepare you for the tougher times ahead.

3) Surround yourself with positive influences – Eliminate those who bring a negative aspect to your life. These people do more harm than good. Find good people to develop good, wholesome relationships with and who will encourage and empower you to be your absolute best.

I hope my friend and others who are suffering in silence will find the courage to speak out and seek help. No one should have to go through difficult times alone and I’m very grateful to friends and family who helped me to overcome my darkest moments in life thus far. I have been blessed with a loving, supportive and wonderful wife. I have loving, kind and honorable sons. I have siblings who love me despite my shortcomings and true friends whom I can call upon when times are tough. I honor you and pray that I will have the same insight and love to help others in their time of need.