I can be pretty sensitive. I have thin skin. Some days it feels like if someone just looks at me wrong, I can feel hurt. I’m not proud of it. And I’m working on it.
Here’s what I do when I feel hurt by someone.
Step 1. Make a choice.
Life is full of choices. You cannot always choose what happens to you, which people you have to spend time with, who says what to you, who does what to you. But you can always choose how you respond to those things.
This first step is critical, because if you choose not to move beyond the hurt, you never will. You will forever be hurt if you choose to feel hurt. Nothing on earth could move you beyond that hurt if you don’t want to. On the other hand, if you choose to move beyond the hurt, it is going to happen. Maybe not this minute, but it will. Eventually, if you choose to move beyond the hurt, you’ll move beyond the hurt.
So make your choice. If you choose not to move beyond the hurt, then don’t bother reading on, it won’t do you an ounce of good. But if you choose to heal, to move beyond the hurt, you’re in the right place.
Step 2. Ask yourself, “Was it intentional?”
Accidents happen. We all occasionally say things that we later regret. Either the words came out wrong, or your head was just somewhere else. No hostility was intended. Oftentimes, it wasn’t even noticed. It was just a slip up.
If someone says something to you that is unintentionally hurtful, approach it with a lighthearted sense of humour and laugh these off. In my experience, these slip ups are usually pretty funny, if you choose to see them that way.
Step 3. Have compassion.
I don’t know where the saying comes from, but I’m a big fan. “Hurt people hurt people.” It means when people are hurting, they are more likely to hurt others. Makes sense, right? Think about the last time you hurt someone, either accidentally or intentionally. You were hurting, weren’t you?
Now, think about a person who intentionally hurt you. I guarantee, they themselves are hurting.
Have some compassion for them. You don’t have to like what they said, but you do have to recognize that it came from their own pain.
This next part is critical. Because now you’re hurting. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to retaliate and hurt them back? Are you going to now hurt someone else? Or are you going to stop the cycle of pain-hurt-pain-hurt?
Step 4: Communicate.
When we are hurting, our communication train completely derails, explodes, and causes a toxic waste site.
Our communication - what we say and what we hear - is far from pretty when we hurt. This is what keeps that pain-hurt cycle alive and well. We say hurtful things and we hear hurtful things. This happens because when you feel those emotions like hurt, anger, indignation, or betrayal, your brain literally stops working the way it’s supposed to and the decision-making centres go off-line (that’s why you say things you later regret), and your comprehension centres shut off (that’s why you hear continued hostility in the words and tone of the other).
Instead of blurting inflammatory words out, stop. Breathe. And ask your heart what the best version of yourself would say in that moment. If you’re honest, the best version of yourself would not perpetuate the pain-hurt cycle. If you’re honest, the best version of yourself would find a solution. (If you’re struggling here, review Step 1: Make a choice.)
Step 5: Let It Go.
More often than not, when you’ve been hurt, you have no desire to go through that again. Once burned, twice smart, they say. So you trap a hairy little grudge in your mind and it runs and runs on its hamster wheel, keeping you hurt, rehashing, blaming, and judging. And instead of slimming down on the hamster wheel, the little bugger just gets bigger ever day. It takes a lot of energy to hold onto a grudge. And a grudge has never in the history of the world solved a problem.
Instead, let it go.
“Well, how!? How can I just let it go?!” you say.
You just do. Again and again. When it raises its ugly head, you say, “Huh, how interesting. There’s that hurt again.” Breathe. Get out of your head with all its hurt feelings and get into your heart. Just take that hamster right off its wheel and put it into your heart. Your heart doesn’t want to hold onto this grudge. And it’ll help you let it go and replace hurt with compassion, care, ease, flow, sincerity, forgiveness, and lightheartedness.
It’s going to be a bit difficult, but the choice is yours. No one can let it go for you. You have to do it. So be the bigger person and take the plunge into your heart.
Here’s to Conquering Stress,
The Stress Experts
If you liked this, you'll love The 42 Day Choice Challenge (aka. The Stress Cleanse!)
Sign up to receive inspiration, skills, tools, and tough love right in your inbox each week. Don't worry, we won't share your email address and we're not going to fill up your inbox with junk.
Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
Sign up to receive inspiration, skills, tools, and tough love right in your inbox each week. Don't worry, we don't share your email address and we're not going to fill up your inbox with junk.