How To Overcome Hurt Feelings

None of us are strangers to emotional hurts. In fact some of us being more sensitive, go through tremendous pain, finding it extremely difficult to deal with offences caused by others.

For as long as you are within communities like family, religious institutions, offices and social circles, you cannot escape this reality.

Hard as it is, to avoid people snubbing us, it will ultimately serve to our advantage and hence God has permitted this. For through this, God can transform us back into His image (which is how we were originally created).

Contrary to “on the surface” beliefs, that others cause us pain, listed below are three reasons for hurt feelings and how to free ourselves from existing wounds and further unnecessary occasions of pain.

  1. Expectations

In my own life, I learnt a few important lessons, from hurtful events. One day, I was very grieved and annoyed, when an important document, went missing from my office desk. I knew one of my team members had unconsciously borrowed it, without asking permission. Ironically, my anger and hurt, instantly vanished, when I learnt that is was borrowed by my superior, who I revere.

Looking back, I realized it was I who had the power, to control these “hurt” feelings from affecting me and it was NOT in anyone else’s hand. An honest introspection, led me to realize that, I was not offended because the document was taken, without permission, but surprisingly, my hurt depended on who took the document.

I take another example. As a child, I loved playing football, but my protective father often prevented me from playing outdoors; most of my requests were met with a regular “No”. On one occasion, I desperately wanted to play and approached him, while he was reading his newspaper. But without flinching, his response was a flat “No” and upon humbly imploring a few times, he startled me with his fury and sharp refusal, which deeply wounded me, such that I was enraged and refused supper.

On another occasion, I had no interest to play with my friends who came by and did not know my cousins were visiting me. They urged me to check with my father again and to please them, I did so. With joy, I approached my dad, with the expectation that he would refuse and that is exactly what he did. I was so elated and pleased with my father, I gladly gave my friends the “bad news”.

I reflect now, how funny it was, that my father’s response was “No” both the times, but my reactions were different; the first time, I was deeply hurt but the other time, I was too pleased.

So it was not my father who had the power to hurt me, rather it was my expectations.

James 1:14-15 – Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

Expectations are like an accelerator, leading us on the highway of emotional calamities; when these expectations are not met, we are severely injured.

Moving into the inner circle of family life, a lot of problems arise because often spouses have great expectations of their partner (which also put burdens on the other).

Given below, is a wise man’s amusing illustration of expectations and how bizarre and downright harmful it can be.

He explained that people are often unrealistic, when they enter into marriage. That a spouse simultaneously marries two life partners on his/her wedding day; their spouse at the church altar and the spouse of their imaginary expectations. As absurd as this is, it is a reality which brings a lot of strain on a marriage.

For example, the wife may expect that the husband would wait upon her (when she returns from work), clean the house and wash dishes. Sadly, all these expectations only remain as dreams. Undesirably what materializes out of it, are hurts, that dangerously widen the gap between spouses!

Some parents have a complex set of home rules for their school going children. However, the child (exhausted from following rigorous rules and discipline at school) desperately seeks rest, in the comfort of his home and finds it hard to follow all the rules, as expected. The result is, a parent gets hurt and angry and there is misunderstanding and a divide between the parent(s) and child.

Cautiously let go of several expectations, that force your family to comply with your will.

Rewind back to your wedding day, accept the real spouse and be prompt in divorcing the imaginary one! You will then be surprised that several of your marital problems will cease to exist.

The perfect thing to do, is that two of you follow God’s (reasonable) expectations of you.

In other circles, such as office and social life, we cause hurt, due to our desire for material riches, which also end up destroying others.

1 Timothy 6:9 – But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.

  • 2. Previous existing inner wounds

Another common reason people get hurt, is because they already carry deep wounds from the past, which have not been dealt with and this will result in them being continuously wounded.

A man had changed five jobs consecutively, because he found all of his bosses very controlling and thus offensive. Through an in-depth investigation into his past, I learnt, that as a young boy, his father was aggressively dominating, which was painful and he always maintained a distance from his father.

Now, whenever he was under people of authority, to him, it unconsciously portrayed them as a copy of his dominating father, and that led him to react. The solution was to forgive his father and make peace with his past. In failing to do so, he would lose out on his entire career and damage his life.

If we do not deal with inner wounds, it will destroy our lives and that of our family’s and we end up standing in the way of our own prosperity.

It is very natural to believe that people (like these bosses, for example) are the problem and that they negatively affect us, which is why we suffer. Ironically, God uses these people, to point out an already existing wound, which needs healing.

We may even blame God, but He only desires to rectify the situation, for our happiness and we need to work hard with Him on this. Example, in trying to raise Lazarus from the dead, of all the people, it was Mary, who prevented the tomb from being opened, though she yearned the most for Lazarus.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

More than discovering our hidden imperfections, these hurtful encounters, serve as important X-RAYs to detect our existing inner wounds – the root problem. From hereon, these revelations, should be taken as opportunities leading us to healing, so as to permanently walk free from future hurts.

Note, the greater degree of hurts we experience, through life, the more we unearth our negative areas. This challenge will either encourage us to perfect our nature like unto that of God’s or (through irritation, annoyance and ignorance) deviate further from Him – the choice is ours!

Therefore, there is no profit in blaming others. Rather take ownership for yourself and work diligently to remove your blocks and reap your blessings!

  • 3. Personalizing hurtful comments or behavior

The other reason why people get hurt is because there are some people who take pleasure in seeking other people’s downfall, and these people can exist in our closest inner circle, like family.

The best response is to never personalize or internalize any of this because you will be the ultimate victim.

If you allow negative wounds to buildup, it will bring great character defects and jeopardize good relations you share with your family and friends.

The smart thing to do, regarding every wound, is to help yourself; do not wait for the other to reconcile first, but for your own sake, make peace with the past hurtful incident and be liberated.

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