What to Do When Someone Hurts or Offends You
There are always going to be times in life when someone does or says something that upsets us in some way and our natural tendency is going to be to want to blame or criticize that person and to want them to change so we can feel better.
Next time this happens to you, see if you can first sit yourself down and try to think about what you can do to contribute to a resolution. Here are just a few suggestions of what that might look like (start a check list!):
- Pray and read the word of God!
- Tell yourself positive words of affirmation and encouragement to boost your self esteem if it has been brought down by what happened.
- Call someone whom you know really cares about you and set up a date to do something fun together (if nothing else, this will act as a distraction and be something to look forward to).
- Confide in someone you consider a ‘safe person’ (someone that loves you no matter what) and ask for their feedback and advice. Sometimes this can provide a valuable alternative perspective we hadn’t thought of.
- Forgive! Forgive! Forgive!
- Get some physical exercise
- Make sure you do something good for yourself
- Get plenty of good rest
- Eat healthy food with extra protein (gives more energy to sustain you through life’s tough moments).
- Call me!
Secondly, weigh up if you should talk to the person about it or not. One option is to simply let it go. Sometimes we have to choose our battles. Is this even worth bringing up? Simply choosing to not take something personally can help enormously. If not, is it appropriate to talk to the person about it (for example, some relationships are more formal than others such as work-related verses personal)? And if so, will that person even be receptive? If the answer is yes, first think how and when you are going to approach them. The how and the when are key to success. You need to find the right moment when both of you have the time and are not going to be too tired, distracted or interrupted. If you do go ahead and talk to them, try to begin the conversation by saying something positive. This will open them up to want to hear what you have to say. And keep the focus mainly on yourself, for example, how this made you feel and see if the person is open to hearing what they might have said or done differently that would have been much easier for you to receive (and why). Be nice! (It never hurts to be nice and can only help).
I hope this has been helpful. Let me know! I love feedback.
A Gentle Answer Turns Away Anger
Most people, including myself, have been raised in a world that teaches that when someone treats you badly, you should basically give them ‘what for’ (by yelling or retaliating for example) and that if you don’t, then you are simply being weak and will continue to be trampled all over.
However, I believe there is a far better way to respond in these kinds of situations that brings about a much higher level of success. Please don’t misunderstand what I am trying to say here. There are certainly many times we have to draw the line and either set a boundary or at least give that person a choice in how they are choosing to treat us that will have negative consequences for unfair or inappropriate behaviors on their part . But if you can manage to respond with kindness, patience, respect and even compassion for the person that has hurt or offended you, you will see victory!
One other word of encouragement on this topic: It takes time to change old patterns. So if you don’t manage to change your responses 100% all the time from now on, do not be discouraged. The name of the game is practice, practice, practice because, as the old saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’ – or at least, eventually it will.
Let me help you dump your pain or your fear!
If you really think about it, pretty much every psychological or emotional issue boils down to one of two things: pain or fear. I underwent an exciting new training recently with Ph.D. psychologist Robert Miller where I learned to help a person dump their pain or fear by a series of very gentle breathing exercises. I am getting consistently excellent results very quickly with a significant number of my clients as a result. People are finding this enormously freeing and makes the rest of their therapy go way faster.
One of the major advantages of this new, unique approach is that I will not ask you to think about the pain or the fear or to even particularly feel it in any great depth. In fact, on the contrary these exercises work best if you can avoid doing so. Moreover, you don’t even really need to recall the source of the problem. I will simply ask you “what color is the pain/fear?” and “where is it located in your body?” and then I will lead you through the series of gentle breathing exercises where you breathe it out.
Keep an eye on my website as there will be more details to follow as I incorporate this into the main treatment approaches I offer
Do NOT Worry!
A helpful principle I find has served me well in my own life as well as in the lives of many others is not to do ‘what if’ thinking. I remember a few months ago, for example, I got a bit of a medical scare. There was a potentially serious problem and I was awaiting the test results. I remember making a conscious decision not to worry about it until I knew I actually had something to worry about. Otherwise why put myself through all that agony when everything might turn out just fine? See if you can try to do this. And by the way, everything did turn out to be just fine!
As a Christian, I have drawn great comfort and encouragement by what the Bible has to say on this topic. For example, as part of the Sermon on the Mount, quoted in Matthew 6:34, Jesus said this:
“…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own”. But my favorite quote on worry and anxiety comes from the Book of Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.
Recently I underwent training in a brand new set of psychotherapy protocols that allow people to ‘dump’ their fear through a series of breathing exercises. Look out for my Weekly Word of Encouragement next week to learn more about this. I have been using it with many of my clients with great success!