Each of us woke up today with a history. We have a background or a path we have walked that leads us to today. No two of us have walked the same path. We were each made unique and we remain unique.
We have all been damaged on our journey. We live life as damaged products.
We have lived through tragedies that aren’t fair. Some of us have experienced more than others. These tragedies hurt us. It may be the loss of a loved one, serving in the military, getting fired, the breakup of a close relationship, 9/11, going bankrupt, or any other number of things. There are defining events in each of our lives.
On a less significant level, we have been damaged by having our feelings hurt by another (or by others). Sometimes it is because of something that is not our fault and sometimes because of something that is our fault.
Popular musician Art Garfunkel started his song “All I Know” with “I bruise you, you bruise me, we both bruise too easily.” Sometimes life feels that way. We are continually bouncing off one another leaving bruise marks behind.
To some degree living life is like a roller coaster ride. There are times we’re high up in the sky anxious with anticipation about what is about to happen. We lift our arms into the air, the wind messes up our hair, and we yell out with joy!
There are times when we’re deep in the valley and scared to death. We ask, “How did I get here?” Oftentimes worrying doesn’t make the ride any easier as we’re unable to change the inevitable.
But we have all stepped onto the roller coaster experiencing the ups and down that come with the ride.
Some damages heal in time. Others never heal. Whether they heal or not, our wounds become part of our stories. We carry them with us each step we take.
The damages that heal don’t slow us down as we move forward, yet they can impact our future decisions. If a person has been burned by a set of circumstances, triggers exist that make that person afraid to be burned again.
Mark Twain said, “If a cat sits on a hot stove, that cat won’t sit on a hot stove again. That cat won’t sit on a cold stove either. That cat just don’t like stoves.” We’ve all sat on a hot stove before. Despite the fact that most stoves are usually not hot, because we were burned once we still stay away from stoves all together.
The wounds we carry not only impact our own lives, they impact those around us also. People also live with trigger points that ignite them from wrongs they have experienced in their past. If you enter into a relationship, you inherit the other person’s past.
There are people who live out their damages on a daily basis. Something happened to them and they can’t get over it. They keep looping back to the event and the event ends up defining their lives on a daily basis. It may be the rejection of another or the oppression by another. It could be an event in their life that was unjust to them. There are countless events that instill deep wounds.
I don’t want to sound insensitive, but living past damages day to day hold you back from what you could be accomplishing. They can cause a person to live their life playing the role of a “victim.” I am very impressed when a person confined to a wheel chair is asked about their “handicap” and they respond “What handicap?”
Many damaged people are hurting people. Typically, hurting people hurt people. Try to avoid living life as a hurting person.
A physician friend I ran with years ago once asked while we were out running “Have you ever wondered what your body would look like if it didn’t heal from the wounds you have experienced?” He continued, “Our bodies would be covered with cuts and bruises.” I thought that was an interesting concept. I know my body would be covered with cuts and black areas from head to toe.
External bumps and bruises are typically less significant in a person’s life that what occurs on the inside. If time hasn’t healed your internal cuts and bruises, then you’re being held back in your life. You’re walking around with a ball and chain around your ankle. You have the key in your pocket and yet you choose not to use it.
My challenge to you is to recognize you are damaged, but make sure the wounds do not drag you down or anyone else. Accept the damages in your life, but unless they are helping you fly higher today, try to leave them behind.
Your failure to do this will lower both your quality of life as well as those closest to you. It will prevent you from using your days to make a difference in the lives of others.
It is alright to be a damaged product, but what is important is what you do next.
Just a thought…
Rick Kraft, a South Pasadena High School graduate, is a syndicated columnist, a motivational speaker, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to