“You’re overreacting.”
“You’re making too much of it.”
“You’re too sensitive.”
“Why does it matter what people think?”

You’ve all heard these things. They might seem like valid statements. They’re certainly meant as well-meaning advice.

But the problem is they’re often made without regard for context, or what I call ‘the bruise’.

If someone bumps your arm accidentally, it’s unlikely to cause much harm. You’ll probably shrug it off and move on.

If however that arm has been repeatedly bumped, hit, punched and prodded over the years, you’re likely to have a tender spot there. A bruise.

Bumping a bruise is a different sensation. When we bump a bruised arm, it hurts.

Without considering this, it will seem like we’re overreacting when we respond to what seems like a light bump with pain and shock. Until we reveal the bruise, then it makes sense.

But often our bruises are invisible. They’re psychological and physiological in nature. They live inside us.

When you come from a supportive nurturing environment where you know you’re loved no matter what, you can shrug it off when the bus driver snaps at you one morning. Who cares what the bus driver thinks, he probably just got out the wrong side of the bed.

But if you don’t have that solid foundation of unconditional support around you, if all you’ve known is criticism and rejection, your reaction will more likely be:

“Wow, even the bus driver doesn’t like me.”

There is no soft place to land when you come home from being pushed around out in the world, as we all are. There is no core place of reassurance that you’re ok. Instead there’s a bruise, and when we’re pushed around it hurts.

And while you’re trying to recover from that, you’re told you’re overreacting, that you need to toughen up.

But you’re already tougher than anyone sees, because although you’re covered in bruises, you still ventured out into a world that pushes you around. You risked the pain.

Rather than these unhelpful platitudes, let’s applaud each other for our strength and courage.

This weekend, as I’m reflecting on the real meaning of Easter, I acknowledge and honour each one of you for continuing to rise after being knocked down, after every betrayal and rejection.

This is a time to celebrate rebirth and renewal. Recognise every time you rose up again after being pushed down. Applaud yourself for not giving up, even if others don’t see what it costs you.

I wish you and your loved ones the renewal of life, love, and happiness this Easter. The magic is yours.

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