The commonly held belief today is that pain is brought about by external events, that it materializes out of thin air and inserts itself into our lives based on the behavior and actions of others. Pain is treated like a dangerous foreign substance that must be avoided at all costs. In an effort to escape it, we throw our pain back at what/who we believe to be the cause: "You did this to me, and it caused my pain. Now I'm going to cause you pain by judging and/or attacking you for it." This solves nothing, and only serves to perpetuate the cycle of blame that keeps us trapped in fear and hatred.
We do not have to live like this anymore. We can choose to believe that pain is not caused by another, but rather has been present within us all along, collecting and overflowing in our hearts due to a lifetime of avoidance and neglect. In each moment, instead of denying and deflecting, we can say "yes" to who we are and what we feel. We can choose to make a habit of allowing our pain to turn us inward, and to bravely examine its source so that we can understand it and heal it. We can ask: "What are you trying to show me, pain? Where do you come from?"
All that is required is a shift of mind-set, a willingness to think differently, to know in each moment that our pain is no one's fault. We all carry it, we all share it, and we all have much to heal. Instead of lashing out, we can say, “I know that my fellow human is not the cause of this pain, but is rather the catalyst for my growth, as I am for them. Instead of lashing out, I will breathe and allow the full acknowledgement of my long neglected pain to infiltrate my being, show me who I am, and transform into a healing balm that releases me from all guilt, fear and shame.” This is the true state of forgiveness.
When we cease all judgement and blame, breathe consciously, and allow our pain to course through us while following the map it provides, we will come face to face with the outdated belief systems that bind us, and we will release ourselves from them. We will understand that fighting helps no one, including ourselves. We will lay down our swords. We will find peace.