Thursday Though #65: The Power of Micro Hurts

(note: Last week’s Thursday Thought was on the micro . And this week, I look to continue to explore the shift and power of the imperceptible and seemingly insignificant).

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.” It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down.

I wish we would mind the micro hurts more often. We give great attention and restorative energy to the large, heavy traumatic experiences that many of us have had. But what of the small hurts? The side comments, or rejections, or moments of being made to feel small?

It’s those moment that collect — pebble by pebble, drop by drop — until their weight feels crushing. It’s the micro hurts that underscore the fissures in relationships — fissures that may not present an issue after one or two years, but slowly erode the bond of a strong relationship over one or two decades. Most seeds of pain or resentment  were not sown yesterday, but 3,658 yesterdays. Unaddressed, insidiously poisoning empathy and sentimentality.
Micro hurts even code themselves into our very genome.  Passed down from generation to generation who experience physical abnormalities, inexplicable pain, and and ever pervasive sense of anxiety that seems larger than them. Because it is.They color our interactions and insecurities, even with those we love the most.  
They can happen monthly, weekly, even daily.
The only antidote to the micro hurt is the micro truth: to call out and speak how we are really feeling in a given moment with love, but also with directness and clarity.
It’s the willingness to address an issue while it is truly still a bud, not yet gnarled into strangling vines. But being willing to name them, to expose them to the pellucid light of day, means healing them, and being free. It means forging healthy relationships that will not become fractured by the cracks. Healthy relationships with others, and with ourselves.
Because that’s where the mending happens: in the minding of the micro — day by day, moment by moment…until where there was hurt, there is strength.