Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

February 28, 2010


You can refuse to let hurt feelings ruin your day – or your life


It ruins your day when you allow someone to hurt your feelings. But it happens. When it happens to me I feel absolutely wretched.  I wish I could fly to Spain and disappear. But getting away does not lessen the pain.  And chances are I will have to endure that pain again simply because I am a human being. Getting your feelings hurt is a universal experience.  It happens to everybody.

People are the problem. There are some strange dudes in this world. For every normal person, like you and me, there are half a dozen who enjoy making the rest of us miserable. They get a kick out of offending others. And these folks are here to stay. They are part of life and we have to learn how to deal with them.

So what can we do to help ourselves when we feel wounded by the behavior or comments of other people? Here are a few ideas I find helpful:

Remain cool. Keep your mouth shut. Don’t make matters worse by making an angry retort that you may regret.  This will allow your offender to stew in the juice of their own insulting words.

Keeping your cool will also give you a chance to mull over what you just heard. Try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps the offender was not really trying to rattle your cage. Make an effort to believe that the person’s barb was not hurled at you.

If you are convinced that the hurting words were truly directed at you, then try to excuse the offender for some reason that makes sense. Perhaps the person has hemorrhoids or is stressed out because of personal problems at home. Maybe colleagues at work have been giving him a bad time and he is just angry with the whole world.

Try to figure out what motivated the attack upon you. Have you made some remark that may have triggered the offender’s anger? Has your attitude toward the person been hostile lately? Rather than put all the blame on the other person, make an honest effort to determine if you helped to create the problem.

You do have a problem. But though it troubles you, you have total control over your reactions. So refuse to feel sorry for yourself. Choose not to nurse your hurt feelings. By doing so you could make a mountain out of a molehill.

Yes, your feelings were hurt; but you can get over it. Grab yourself by the nap of the neck and start putting this problem behind you. Bounce back and do it now. Choose not to allow the acid tongue of another person to ruin your day – or your life.

Now 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, like the hide of an elephant. Decide that in the future you will not be so easily offended.

Forgive the  person who hurt you. Do it in your heart first. Then, if it seems necessary, speak to the person.  You could say, "What you said hurt me, but I don’t want that to destroy our friendship. If I did or said something that prompted your remark,  then I  ask you to forgive me."

Whatever your response do not begin sending cryptic messages to the offender. It is a waste of time to send hidden messages in the hope that someone can read your mind. If you must speak, then speak but do so graciously. Leave the barbs for the fence. Speak truthfully, but speak in love. Otherwise you may succeed in making an enemy.

If offering forgiveness seems difficult for you, then beware. You may have become the “holier-than-thou” person you say you despise.  It is risky to wrap the cloak of innocence around yourself and assume that the other person is the hateful offender.

The truth more likely is that you are not innocent. You offend people too. You can speak 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.

Do yourself a big favor by refusing to tell other people about the incident. It only gets worse when you tell your friends about the terrible way someone has hurt your precious feelings. If you keep the matter to yourself, you will not drag your friends into a problem which none of them can solve for you. Wait until you have a REAL problem to seek the comfort of your friends.

Finally, move on. Focus on the beautiful things in your life. Life is too short to spend time wrestling with issues that have no eternal value. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy life. Live. Laugh. Love. Forgive yourself. Forgive  others.  And never give another person the privilege of hurting your feelings. No one can do it without your permission! + + +