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What to Do When Someone's Words Hurt You

mental health tips Feb 05, 2018

Whoever said sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you has never actually had any painful words spoken to them before.

We all experience painful words a time or two whether it’s like real true bullying or abuse or just like really painful, hurtful words, we all go through it. I want to give you some steps to help you go past it so you don’t keep holding a grudge or resentment against people in your life because possibly these are the people that love you the most. Here are 5 steps to help you overcome those painful, hurtful words that people tell us.

1. Pause and acknowledge your emotions.

This may seem super basic but I want you to actually experience those emotions that you have. If someone said something really mean to you, be sad. If you are angry about what somebody said, be angry. Allow yourself to embrace those emotions.

We tend to suppress our emotions so often and then we avoid feeling those feelings by doing things like emotionally eating or turning to alcohol or drugs or other substances. Addictions and other behaviors that we don’t want to be doing, all because we are just afraid to actually experience those emotions. Emotions are not going to kill you but I want you to acknowledge them and embrace them.

2. Ask yourself, “What storyline am I reliving?”

Chances are, you are probably reliving the past in some way, shape or form. This happens a lot when I hear patients and clients talk about overreacting to a situation or “It wasn’t really that big of a deal but I just got so emotional over it.” If this sounds like you, then you’re probably reliving some past trauma or heartache. Ask yourself that and reflect on maybe some past hurts and heartaches that you need to process through a little bit more.

3. Tell yourself, “It’s not about me.”

Chances are, it’s probably about that other person. Not always but 9 times out of 10, if someone says something really painful or hurtful to you and it’s making you feel a certain way, probably that’s how they feel in that given moment or time. So if someone’s making you feel angry, they’re probably angry themselves. If someone’s making you feel really worthless or hopeless, they’re probably feeling really hopeless or worthless.

Take a step back and actually think about that other person. It actually allows you to have a little bit more compassion for them because you’re not getting defensive and you’re not internalizing so much on to yourself. You can say, “It’s not me. It’s them.”

4. Remind yourself what you can and cannot control.

There’s so much in life we do not have control over. We do not have control over what we look like. We don’t even really have control over how much we weigh. We don’t have control over so many factors in our life. Even our personality, researches show that it’s largely based on genetic temperament. We really don’t have control over that much in our life. If someone picks on us or bullies us or says hurtful words about, you know, some of them have really ingrained character trait or some part of ourselves we really can’t change, accept the fact that you can’t control it. If it’s something that you can control, then do something about it.

5. Speak up!

Stand true in who your are and allow yourself to experience those emotions that maybe you’re afraid of. If you need to defend yourself and actually stand true in who you are, always use first person.

If you need to speak back and not be a dormat because you don’t want people to ride all over you and tell you hurtful words, don’t attack them with things like, “you make me feel, or You, you, you…” Start the sentence with “I feel”. It will help to just deflect the defensiveness that could come from them.

I want you to be strong and courageous and confident in who you are because then you can actually stay true to what it is that’s important to you and try to move past hurtful feelings. The biggest mistake that I see is that we cave. Even the boldest, most confident of us, we want to please people and we don’t actually like to be in conflictual relationships. What do we do? We change our minds. We second guess ourselves. We don’t stand strong. But I want you to speak up and to speak truth.

I hope these tips are helpful for you.



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