When your feelings are hurt in a relationship, sometimes it seems like your only choices are 1) exact revenge, 2) stop talking to the person, or 3) try to forgive and forget.
But there’s another choice, one that’s often the better way to go with relationships that are important to you, and that is to communicate about what happened and how you feel about it.
For many of us, that’s a tall order. We have to be able to sort through our hurt feelings first AND we have to have the self-esteem to assert that our feelings matter in relationships.
So how do you get there from here? I believe the 2-step process below helps with both tasks.
Feel It to Heal It
1. Notice how you feel.
Feelings that are consciously and fully accepted don’t stick around. You’ll feel better sooner if you embrace this step.
Just acknowledging your feelings silently in your own head, without self-judgment, brings peace. It creates a kind of heart-magic that will move you out of those feelings and into a better state before you know it.
While you’re embracing your hurt feelings, remember it doesn’t matter if the other person meant to hurt you or not.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re “right” to feel hurt. This isn’t a courtroom, it’s just you here. There’s no judge, no jury… just a plaintiff and an advocate if you will, both of whom are you.
Keep it simple. You’re either hurt or you’re not. You know it when you feel it.
If you’re hurt, tell yourself, “I’m hurt by what happened (or what he said, or what she did, etc.) I feel so ______ … “
- Demeaned (denigrated, diminished, disrespected, dang! so many D-words…)
Fill in the blank with the word or words that fit.
2. Make sense of your feelings
Tell yourself why you’re hurt.
Don’t think evidence; think explanation.
Don’t seek proof; seek to understand.
Remember, this is not a courtroom. You don’t have anything to prove.
What you do need is a way to make sense of your feelings. Here’s an example of what you might say to yourself to do that.
I’m hurt because:
- I value her opinion; I’m worried she’s right
- I thought he had my back
- I’ve given too much of my time and energy to be treated this way
- S/he doesn’t seem to know me at all, even though s/he should by now
Etc. Really think about making sense of your feelings. Because if you pay attention, they do make sense. It’s not just chaos in there, even if it sometimes feels that way.
Once you come up with a way to understand your feelings, tell yourself, “NO WONDER I’m hurt!” And believe it.
When you’ve given yourself this attention…
When you’ve really listened to your heart…
THEN you’ll be in a better position to decide what, if anything, to do about the fact that So-and-So hurt your feelings.
None of us wants to go off half-cocked and take our feelings out on someone else. Following the recipe above will help you avoid that.