Monday, June 25, 2012

You Hurt My Feelings!

Do any of these sound familiar? These are some everyday examples of self-inflicted pain that we women can so easily heap upon ourselves when we allow our feelings to be hurt.

  • You walk into a room and one really well-dressed woman seems to look at you in a disapproving way. “Oh, brother,” you think, “she doesn’t like the way I look.”  You become very self-conscious and your feelings are hurt.

  • A good friend makes a comment that you interpret to be critical.  Instead of talking with her about it, you retreat with hurt feelings and allow it to damage your relationship.

  • You send an email to a business associate, asking for information, and a week later you still have not received a reply.  You have always felt that this person doesn’t like you, and this just confirms it further.  Your feelings are hurt.

  • Your boss asks you to make some corrections to a report.  She gives you some specific criticism and suggestions for improvement.  You take it personally and consider it an insult to your intelligence – and your feelings are hurt. 

  • Your husband comes home from work and has very little to say.  Your questions seem to irritate him rather than draw him into a conversation.  You interpret it to mean that he doesn’t like to talk with you and you wonder if he still loves you.  He has hurt your feelings.

  • You learn that a friend at church had some other friends over for dinner and you were not invited.  Your feelings are hurt.
This is more a female problem than a male problem, because we were created with more sensitive natures, and we feel things more deeply than most men do.  Men are able to isolate their feelings and put them on hold, and that’s why they aren’t nearly as prone to take things as personally as we are. 

God gave us these nurture natures for good reasons, but like everything good that God created, sin has polluted and damaged it, and if it is not controlled, that sensitive nature can become our Achilles heel, our fatal flaw, and a source of continual self-inflicted pain as we allow our feelings to be hurt far too easily. 

I often remind myself and other women that people are not thinking about us nearly as much as we think they are thinking about us!  We assume it’s all about us, when most of the time it isn’t. We think we are far more important in the lives of others than we really are!  Most people’s worlds revolve around themselves, not us!

Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matt. 16:25).  He is teaching us that being self-absorbed is the pathway to loss.  Overly sensitive feelings, which frequently throw us into the “it’s all about me” syndrome, can cause us to lose our life.  We can lose the purpose for which God created us; we can lose the peace and joy Jesus came to give us; we can lose the opportunity to reach out to others with God’s comfort and love.

The Cure for Hurt Feelings

So, what can we do to move out of this bad habit of being overly-sensitive and having our feelings hurt too much?  Here are some suggestions.

  1. Break old habits.  When your feelings are hurt, think, “Is this really about me, or could there be some other reason that this person behaved in this way
  2. Buy time.  Don’t respond to your hurt feelings quickly.  Swallow those words you want to say, and simply buy yourself some time to be able to move from the emotional to the rational.
  3. Build healthy calluses.  Ask God to toughen you up, so that you are not so prone to take everything personally.
  4. Bring it into the open. If you feel you have truly been offended, write out how you were hurt, and put it away for two days. Then read it again, and if you are still truly offended, determine how you will confront that person in a biblical, loving way.  Chances are good that after two days you’ll tear up the paper and say to yourself that it’s really not that big a deal.
When we can make progress in this area, we are becoming more and more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.  Then you can turn hurt feelings into an opportunity to pray for that person, reach out to that person, and let God’s love flow through you.  This can be one of the best gifts you’ll ever give yourself, as you are set free from that overly-sensitive reaction and all those hurt feelings.

1 comment:

  1. Needed this too today, great post! I was listening to Joyce Meyer this morning, her radio audio recording, series called "Don't Panic" and she was talking about forgiveness. She said the habit to get into as soon as someone has hurt your feelings or offended you is to immediately start praying for them. Guess I needed to learn a few things today after a remark to me made me feel like I was stupid (at work too). Thank you!