We have all been hurt at one time or another. Being hurt is unavoidable and just a normal part of life. The problem is, many of us have difficulty processing our hurts in a positive way and our emotions become badly damaged. It is important that we address our hurts and deal with them so they can’t continue to cause pain in our lives.
Here are some steps we can take to heal any damaged emotions:
- Face your problems dead on. If you try to avoid them, deny them or hide them, it won’t work. Pushing the pain away may temporarily relieve the pain, but in the long run, the hurt will keep coming back. Take an honest look at what happened and talk to someone you can trust.
- Take responsibility for what happened. Be totally honest with yourself. Did you play any part in what happened? Most of the time, there can be blame placed on both sides. How did you respond? Did you show anger or did you try to understand the situation?
- Ask yourself if you really want your damaged emotions to heal. Sometimes people use their problems to get attention and to make other people feel sorry for them. They get stuck in a bad habit and become comfortable struggling with their problems. This is really not a good way to live as it never allows any possibility of peace or happiness.
- In order to heal, you must be forgiving. First you need to forgive the people who hurt you. This does not mean that you are telling them it is okay for them to hurt you because it was certainly not okay at all, it means that you are giving up the hold they have on you. As long as you have unforgiveness for a person, you are tied to them and they can continue to hurt you over and over again. Tell the person you forgive them for hurting you and then forgive yourself and move on.
Do you feel that you will never measure up and are always comparing yourself to others?
Do you feel that you never do anything well or can never please anyone or yourself?
Are you always driven by the expectations of others?
Are you often frustrated or feel like a failure?
Have you ever stopped to wonder where these feelings come from? We form our opinions of others and ourselves mainly from the environment that we grow up in. This is reinforced by the people we surround ourselves with and how much we immerse ourselves in the media. Perhaps you grew up in a home where criticism was the norm and whatever you did was never good enough. When you cleaned your room and it wasn’t perfect, were you praised for what you did or criticized for what you didn’t do? When you brought home a report card with 5 B’s and 1 D, were you praised for doing a good job and encouraged to beat that D or were you just criticized for getting a D? When you brought home friends to enjoy some fun times, did your family welcome them and talk nicely about them when they left or did they pick out all their bad points and tell you that you didn’t choose your friends very well?
Growing up and living in an environment of criticism and negativity will have profound effects on how you live your life. Feeling that you never do anything right and thinking that all your choices are bad ones, will create a need to find perfection. Everything you do will be geared to pleasing someone else. The result is feeling like a failure because you can never measure up to anyone else’s expectations. The world continually promotes perfection and the need to succeed. We should always do our best but we can never be perfect in a world that is far from perfect.
We need to understand that we all have strengths and weaknesses and not be critical of our imperfections and flaws. We ALL are imperfect and we ALL have weaknesses. We just can’t be the ‘super’ person that everyone expects us to be. Even the expectations we put on ourselves are way too high and can never be reached. Accepting ourselves for who we really are is important. We all have unique value and worth. Discover your own amazing abilities, strengths and personality traits. Make a list and review them often to remind yourself what an awesome person you are!
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say this statement and I’ve said it myself more times that I can remember. I used to firmly believe that I was unable to do anything about my emotions or change the way I felt and I’ve discovered this is totally wrong. I was allowing my emotions to control me instead of taking control of my emotions. It was time to make some changes!
Actually, you can’t really help the way you feel, but you CAN learn to manage your emotions and work hard to change the way you react. When someone hurts you, you will likely feel angry or upset. When something takes too long, you will likely feel agitated or impatient. When you can’t do something easily, you will likely get frustrated. It is normal to feel these emotions but it is not healthy to respond in a negative way that could be damaging to others and yourself.
When you feel any emotion, you have the choice to respond automatically or you can stop yourself for a few seconds and quickly process a more positive way of dealing with the situation. This takes patience and practice but if you keep working at it, it will become a good habit. Always be consciously aware of how you are feeling and make sure you think before you react.
- First stop, take a deep breath, and don’t react immediately.
- Then do something that will help you calm down. Separate yourself from the person or situation as this will allow you to focus more clearly, take a walk, listen to some calming music or do an activity that you enjoy. Don’t give in to your negative emotions.
- Talk it out with yourself. Ask yourself why you are feeling this way. Is there an underlying issue that needs to be addressed such as depression, anxiety, work-overload, too many pressures?
- Determine what changes need to be made so when difficult situations arise, you can manage your emotions more effectively. How can you deal with things in a more positive way? Write down your thoughts and create a plan of action.
You can’t help the way you feel but you CAN help the way you react. React in positive way!
When we are angry with someone, it is hard to express our emotions to them without making the situation worse. Many times, we just hold our anger inside and try to ignore the situation/person. This is not a positive way of dealing with anger. It is important that we learn to manage our anger, understand why we are angry and make changes in the way we deal with difficult people and situations.
A good way to deal with anger is writing a letter. Getting your thoughts and emotions out in the open will help you process them in a positive way. Write a letter to someone who has hurt you. Do this when you are alone and will have no interruptions. If you have a close friend who is completely supportive and would benefit from their presence, explain what you are doing and allow them to be close by. Turn off your phone, your computer and the TV. Say whatever you need to say. Write down any feelings of anger, hatred, disgust or despair that are causing you to be uncomfortable. Then once the letter is done, sit back and take a deep breath.
When you are ready, read the letter out loud to yourself. Hearing your own words will start the healing process. Remember that I said you need to be alone or with a close, supportive friend. When you have finished reading the letter, allow yourself to scream, cry, punch your pillow. Just don’t do anything to hurt yourself or damage anything around you. Allow yourself to be completely drained, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Now you should be ready to put this anger behind you.
Take the letter, rip it into pieces and throw it away. Just don’t mail the letter as it would likely cause more pain. The letter is strictly for your own eyes.
Now, take some time to relax. This exercise will have taken a lot out of you. A lot of pressure has been released. Listen to some soothing music, read an inspirational book, take a nap.
If you have more anger to deal with, write more letters until you are feeling lighter. Carrying anger with you is a heavy load. Release your anger in a positive way.
Many people believe that they don’t have the power the change something in their lives. They believe that they are stuck in the same unhealthy relationships, the same dead-end job, the same negative way of thinking and that their health will never improve. I used to believe this myself, but the truth is, we CAN change our lives for the better if we really want to and are willing to take action.
You can’t keep doing things the same way over and over and expect a different result. You have to change something in your life: create new habits, develop new ideas, work on some goals. If you just keep thinking about making a change and don’t take action, nothing will ever change. You have to actively get going and do something in order to make positive changes in your life.
Change takes time. You have to be committed to working hard and being patient. Nothing worthwhile comes that quickly. People today want things instantly and are not willing to invest time in their future.
If you want your life to change, here are some steps you can take:
- Sit down with a pen and journal or pad of paper and start brainstorming. Write down your thoughts. Create a simple plan of action. Set some short and long term goals.
- Ask yourself some key questions. What kind of relationships do you want to have? What do you enjoy doing? What do you really want to achieve in life?
- Figure out what needs to be changed in your life. What are some things that are working for you now? What are some things that are not working?
- Determine any roadblocks that are stopping you from moving ahead. What are these roadblocks and how can they be removed?
- Organize your plan of action and post it somewhere so it can be a daily reminder.
- Keep track of your progress in your journal.
- If something isn’t working the way you expected, modify your plan and make any necessary changes.
- Include some trusted family and friends in your plan and allow them to motivate and support you.
- Remember to stay positive. You might not always accomplish what you want, but keep focusing on your plan and keep going.
- Most important. Be patient, persevere and never give up. Change will come if you keep working at it.
We do many things in our lives that we wish we hadn’t done or wish we had done better. Too often we put off doing something with the intention of doing it someday but that day never comes. Or we do things quickly with little or no preparation, thinking that we can do it better the next time. Even worse we do something knowing that it isn’t right and it may even cause problems but we still do it anyway.
Time is precious and we should never waste it. We only have so many hours in a day and we really don’t how many of those days we have. In the big picture of life, we should try to focus on what is important and invest our time wisely.
When a loved one passes away, we are reminded that we can’t go back and do things over again. Our lives are NOT a dress rehearsal for some future event. Our lives are happening RIGHT NOW! We can’t go back and tell that person the things we forgot to say. We can’t go back and do the things we wanted to do with them. We can’t watch the movies that we said we would watch with them and didn’t. We can’t buy that gift that we always thought about getting them.
Are you living your life like it is a dress rehearsal? Stop rehearsing and start living! Time is precious. If you waste your time, you are wasting your life. Make some positive changes:
- spend time with the people you love
- go to your children’s school play or special event
- take that trip you have been planning (just don’t go into debt to do it)
- build meaningful relationships
- take that course you always wanted to take
- tell your spouse that you love them
- manage your time wisely
How many times have you said something that you wished you hadn’t?
How many times have critical or complaining words have tumbled out of your mouth?
How many times have you expressed anger that hurt someone else?
How many times have you belittled or torn down another person?
How many times have you spread gossip that wasn’t entirely true?
Just think about it. You have probably spoken thousands of negative, critical, angry, hurtful words that had the potential to hurt many people. Our words have such powerful effects!
We should always be careful with our words and think before we speak. Our thoughts often come to us without warning and if don’t pay attention to what we are thinking and stop any negative thoughts from being processed into negative words, we can do a lot of damage to the lives of others and also ourselves. Careless words can result in misunderstanding, miscommunication and cause problems in our relationships.
Before you speak:
- think carefully about what you are saying
- be consciously aware of any negative thoughts
- stop those negative thoughts
- picture a stop sign, take a few deep breaths, count to 10
- focus on something positive
- say positive statements
- write your thoughts in a journal or type them into your phone
- gather your thoughts and say something positive
- if you do say something negative, apologize before the situation gets worse
You do have the power to control your thoughts. You don’t have to keep every negative thought that pops into your head. Get rid of those negative thoughts and create a habit of positive thinking. Believe me it does work! All it takes is continual practice.
In the 1920’s an American physiologist called Walter Cannon came up with a term to describe the chain of reactions in our bodies that help us deal with threatening circumstances. The term he used was the ‘fight-or-flight response‘ which appropriately explained the need for us to stay and deal with a conflict or run away to safety. When we are feeling stressed, our nervous system automatically reacts so we are ready to deal with the problem, however, many times this automatic response doesn’t help us resolve the problem and can actually make it worse.
When someone has hurt us we need to stop and look at the situation realistically and reasonably. Instead of just getting angry and fighting with the person or getting upset and running away, there is a way that might possibly resolve the situation and have a positive outcome. Really? We don’t have to let ourselves be controlled by our emotions. We can stop ourselves from reacting automatically.
In the past, whenever I faced a conflict, I would just allow the ‘fight-or-flight response‘ to kick in. Did it resolve the conflict? Of course not. I decided that resolution would be much better than reaction, so I started to use a different approach. When a situation arose, I would try to look at things from a different perspective and understand what was causing the problem. In order to do this I had to face the person, communicate my feelings with them and then forgive them for hurting me. I call this a ‘face and forgive response’. It certainly worked a lot better than fighting or running away. It actually resolved the problem most of the time.
How does it work? First, stop yourself from reacting immediately – count to 10, take a deep breath.
- FACE the person by CALMLY starting a conversation that might bring out the reason for their actions
- ask them if they are having a bad day and why they said or did what they did
- ask if they are going through something difficult themselves
- ask if they are under some kind of stress
- is there anything you can do to help them
- Tell them that their words or actions hurt you
- Then FORGIVE them either mentally (to yourself) or verbally tell them if possible
If you can’t remain calm or the other person can’t control their emotions, then walk away and go somewhere until you are both able to carry on a quiet conversation. NEVER stay in a stressful situation when your emotions are out of control because the result will never be good.
Fighting or running away will never resolve a problem, it will just keep you holding onto it. Wouldn’t it be better to try to resolve things and have a positive outcome? Don’t just let your automatic response kick in when you are facing difficulty. Don’t fight or flee, instead FACE and FORGIVE!
Just because we are alive doesn’t mean we are living. It is possible to be alive on the outside and dead on the inside. If we are just doing the same thing every day without passion or purpose,we are basically walking around dead. We may be breathing, moving, talking, working and interacting with other people but inside we might feel empty and alone.
Every day we should think about what we are doing and work towards some kind of goal. It might be just a simple goal like getting up, getting dressed and going for a walk or it could be to start a course, join a group or write a book. The more we focus on doing something positive in our lives, the more alive we will feel.
A good idea to get motivated is to make a list of goals, both short and long-term. What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at? What do you want to achieve? What do you need to do in order to get to where you want to be in life?
Instead of just going through each day, doing the same thing over and over again and feeling dead inside, start doing something that will help you get out of your rut and moving forward. Surround yourself with positive people, places and things. Here are some ideas:
- make a list of your skills, abilities and interests
- read motivational books and watch programs that will inspire you
- join an interest group or a church that can provide ongoing support
- take a course that deals with communication and learn how to build good relationships
- work on a healthier lifestyle – eat proper foods, exercise, get enough sleep
- try to focus on what is positive in life
- learn to appreciate what you have
- spend time helping other people – this will increase your level of happiness
Are you walking dead? If the answer is yes, than start doing something about it today! Don’t waste one more day feeling lost and alone. TAKE ACTION and start living your life.