Altar Call Ė Opelika-Auburn News
January 18, 2009
When your feelings are hurt you can process the pain and move on
If someone hurts your feelings now and then, relax. No need to panic. It is simply a reminder that you are a human being. You are not alone. It happens to everybody. Chances are it will happen again. Thatís life. †
The only way to avoid such pain is to live in a cocoon, shut off from people. But that is impossible. None of us can live alone on an island. And even if we could the pain of loneliness would be worse than that of having our feelings hurt. To relate to people is to run the risk of being offended.
What can we do to heal the wounds caused by the behavior or comments of other people? Let me offer some suggestions out of my own experience.
First, give the other person the benefit of the doubt. There is always a chance that the offender was not attacking you but someone else. The offensive comment may not have been aimed at you. If you can believe that the personís barb was not meant for you, it will help you to cope with the sting. †
Second, if you are certain that the hurtful words were directed at you, then try to excuse the offender for some sensible reason. †Perhaps the person had hemorrhoids or was stressed out by marital problems. Maybe the personís friends at work have been giving him a bad time and he was just passing on the pain.
Third, remain calm. Do not overreact. Try to understand what motivated the attack upon you. Had you made remarks that triggered the offenderís anger? Before you put all the blame on the other person, make an honest effort to determine if you helped to create the problem.
Fourth, try not to nurse your hurt feelings and make a mountain out of a molehill. So your feelings were hurt; get over it. Grab yourself by the nap of the neck and put the problem behind you. Bounce back. Refuse to let the acid tongue of another person ruin your day.
Fifth, examine your shirt sleeves. You may be wearing your feelings on your sleeves. If you decide that is true, then ask the good Lord to give you a tougher skin, like the hide of an elephant.† Decide that you will not be so easily offended next time.
Sixth, forgive the person who hurt you. †Do it in your heart first. Then, as soon as you have cooled down, share how you feel with the person who hurt your feelings. Say something like, "What you said really hurt me, but I value our friendship.† If I have done or said something that was offensive to you, I want to ask you to forgive me."
Seventh, resist the temptation to begin sending cryptic messages to the offender. Life is too short to waste time sending hidden messages in the hope that people can read your mind. If you have something to say, say it, and if possible, say it graciously. Leave the barbs for the fence. Speak truthfully but speak in love. Otherwise you may make an enemy.
Eighth, if offering forgiveness is difficult for you, then be sure you never sin. You may be sitting in the holier-than-thou seat. Be careful not to assume that you are the innocent one who has been injured by the hateful offender. There is a good chance you are not innocent. You offend people too. You are capable of speaking carelessly or sharply when you are suffering from heartburn or some other agitation. Because you also can be offensive, you can forgive those who offend you.
Ninth, seal your lips about the incident. It only gets worse when you start telling your friends about the terrible thing someone has done to hurt your precious feelings. Much talk will hinder repair and recovery.
If you keep the matter to yourself, you will not drag your friends into a problem which none of them need, and which none of them can solve for you. Give your friends a break; donít burden them what may be a minor problem for you.
Tenth, move on with your life. Focus on beautiful things. Your life is too short to spend a lot of time wrestling with issues that have no eternal value.
Choose to enjoy yourself. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy life. Live. Laugh. Love. Forgive. Reconcile. Leave your hurt feelings choking in a cloud of dust! And one final thing: remember to ask forgiveness from the people whose feelings you have hurt! + + +