When You Feel Hurt, Here’s How to Move Forward

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Photo by Ian Froome on Unsplash

I had some interesting things brought to my attention the other day.

Within the same week I found out that two important people in my life had resentment toward me and were feeling hurt by my actions.

This had been going on with each of them for months and I had NO IDEA.

They had not come to talk to me personally about their experiences and had instead chosen to voice their hurt feelings to mutual people in our lives. These mutual friends came to me in confidence and told me what was going on.

I very much appreciated that I was made aware of this information and I am currently navigating how to move forward with these people based on their experiences of me.

I write about this today because I want to address a few issues around being hurt.

First of all, I wish with all my heart that both of these people had come to me first and cleared up any misinterpretations so they would both understand that I had absolutely no intention of hurting them.

An interesting thing about us as human beings is that we judge others by their actions and behaviours and we judge ourselves by our motives and intentions.

When people hurt us, we often automatically look at their actions and behaviours and say “they shouldn’t have done that” or “they hurt me”.

I am guilty of this too.

One thing I’ve learned in recent years is that open and honest communication can do wonders in these situations.

Had either of these people come to me over the last few months when they were feeling hurt and voiced their concerns, they would have very quickly learned this: Even though they interpreted my behaviour as me hurting them, my intentions were 100% pure and loving.

Also, I had made a choice that was best for my family and I and they could obviously not see this — all they saw was how my actions affected them.

This brings me to another point:

As human beings we are meaning-making machines.

As we judge others’ behaviors and actions toward us and make up meanings about them, we can often shoot ourselves in the foot by creating a meaning that causes us to feel hurt. We do this without even talking to the other person and understanding their perspective.

This is where the open and honest communication comes in.

Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity 

Nat Turner

When we feel hurt, it is imperative for our well-being that we find a way to deal with those feelings in a forward-moving way and clear up any confusion.

Sometimes that involves just dealing with them on our own, however when it is a friend or family member who has hurt us, I believe that it is crucial to go to the person and have a conversation.

This actually shows love and respect for ourselves and the other person. If someone doesn’t know they’ve hurt you, you are enlightening them and helping them grow. You also get to love yourself by showing others how you appreciate being treated.

For me, these conversations often look like this: “I experienced the situation that happened between us this way: ____________. Because of this I felt sad and angry. If you are open to it, I would really appreciate hearing your perspective and feeling about the situation so that I can better understand where you were coming from”.

In going about it in this manner, I do not put blame on the other person, but take full responsibility for my feelings. And when they talk, I LISTEN.

I truly believe that seeking to understand before seeking to be understood is crucial in any friendship or intimate relationship.

Because we are meaning-making machines, we can often make up meanings based on filters in or mind that have been around for many years (most of these filters have been around since we were teenagers).

If we feel insecure, we will often process things through a filter of insecurity. If we feel confident, we process things through a filter of confidence.

In my insecure days, I would interpret anything that people did as something being wrong with me. Now that I’m much more confident in who I am, I interpret people’s actions towards me as having nothing to do with me personally.

If people don’t call me back or they treat me a certain way that I see as negative, I don’t make it mean something about me — I choose to believe it is their ‘stuff’ and that their actions really don’t have much to do with me at all.

This is truth: People’s actions toward us have everything to do with them and almost nothing to do with who we are.

All we are to one another is a mirror and we just reflect back to people who they are.

So again, I write this because I want to address the issue of feeling hurt.

If you are in this position and do not know the other person’s side of the story I would encourage you to have open, honest and responsible communication with this person.

With more information, our perceptions can change.

Talk to them from a responsible place of ownership over your own feelings and actions, if they are open to it. If they are not open to it, then at least you know you did what you could to rectify the situation.

In my own situation, either of the people in my life could’ve come to me and said: “Even though you gave advance notice or weren’t required to attend, I felt hurt when you chose to not be there on this specific day”.

If so I would have compassionately explain this to them: “The reason I chose that was because I had so much going on in my life with my own family and personal struggles that I needed space to deal with those things. I felt that being with you at a time when I was feeling so stressed would not serve you and might make the occasion more stressful for you then it had to be”.

I would’ve helped them see that my choice had nothing to do with how much I loved them and I certainly didn’t intend on hurting them in any way.

Both these people are important to me, and to know that their hearts hurt because of something I did makes me sad. It makes me even sadder that they did not come to me and share their feelings (and still haven’t).

Now I get to go to them and show them that I love them, which I am in the process of doing.

I hope that this post enlightens you to the fact that we make up meanings about things in our lives and sometimes they’re true and sometimes they’re not. The only way we will find out for sure is by hearing the other person’s point of view and taking that into consideration.

It’s amazing what we can make up in our minds when we have the freedom to make up whatever we want.

Instead of typically judging others by their actions and behaviors, I would encourage all of us to judge people by their motives and intentions. I believe in at least 95% of cases, people’s motivations and intentions are coming from them doing their best and they would feel sad to know that they had hurt someone close to them.

If you have someone in your life who has caused you pain, know that you don’t need to carry that pain anymore. Open up a conversation and a willingness to see things differently. Seek to understand — looking at the scenario from their lens there can be so much healing.

Love shouldn’t hurt and someone who truly loves you probably didn’t hurt you on purpose.

If they did intentionally hurt you, then at least you’ll know the truth and be more prepared to move forward and let go of the past — and them.

Holding on to pain will not serve you — moving forward will.

Remember, you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.

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