Altar Call Ė Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

Feb. 24, 2002

What you can do when your feelings have been hurt

If you live on planet earth your feelings have been hurt more than once. Chances are you will experience that pain again soon. It happens to everybody.

The only way to avoid such pain would be to live on a desert island by yourself. There you would not be bothered by people. But the pain of loneliness would be worse than that of having your feelings hurt. As long as we associate with people, we run the risk of being offended.

What can we do to help ourselves when we have been wounded by the behavior or comments of other people? Here are a few suggestions:

1) Try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. There is a real possibility that the offender was not really trying to rattle your cage. A comment which felt offensive to you may not have been aimed at you. Make an effort to believe that the personís barb was not hurled at you.

2) If you are convinced that the hurting words were truly directed toward you, then try to excuse the offender for some reason that makes sense. Perhaps the person had an upset stomach, or stressed out because of personal problems at home. Maybe the personís colleagues at work had been giving him a bad time and he was just passing on the pain.

3) Convinced that a person really meant to cause you grief, you should calm down and try to understand what motivated the attack upon you. Had you made remarks yourself which triggered the offenderís anger? Rather than blame the other person for the problem, make an honest effort to determine if something you said helped to create the problem.

4) Resist the tendency to nurse your hurt feelings and possibly make a mountain out of a molehill. So your feelings were hurt; get over it. Grab yourself by the nap of the neck and insist on putting this problem behind you. Bounce back. Refuse to let the acid tongue of one other person ruin your life.

5) Take a good look at 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, even the hide of a buffalo. Decide that in the future you will not be so easily offended.

6) Forgive the offensive person. Do it in your heart first. Then, if it seems necessary, speak to the person who hurt your feelings. Say something like, "What you said really hurt me, but I donít want that or anything to harm our friendship. If I did or said something that prompted you to say what you did, then I want to ask you to forgive me."

7) Whatever you do, donít start 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 succeed in making an enemy.

8) If offering forgiveness seems difficult for you, then watch out. You may be sitting in the holier-than-thou seat. Without realizing it you may be assuming that you are the innocent one who has been injured by the hateful offender. But 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 too can be offensive, you can forgive those who offend you.

9) Be sure not to tell nine other people 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.

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 should be a minor problem to you. Wait until you have a REAL problem for which you can seek the comfort of your friends.

10) Move on. Choose to focus on the beautiful things in your life. Promise yourself that the next time someone hurts your feelings, you will allow the pain to stay with you no more than an hour. Realize that life is much too short to spend a lot of time wrestling with issues that have no eternal value. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy life. Live. Laugh. Love. Leave your hurt feelings choking in a cloud of dust!