Human beings hurt one another! Unfortunately, we should expect it. Even people who love each other deeply, can injure one another. How we respond to our experience of hurt has a massive impact on the health of our future selves and our relationships.
Here are 7 helpful practices for the next time you feel hurt*
Take some time
Often strong emotions can lead to impulsive actions. When we act impulsively, we often don’t act maturely. Time is a powerful factor that leads to a healthier perspective. Simply allowing 24 to 48 days to pass before crafting an email or sending a text can go a long way toward processing our emotions in a healthy way and managing our words wisely. Reacting leads to regret!
Talk with God
Our human instinct urges us to strike back when we feel hurt! It’s part of the equipment that comes with our lower nature. Expressing our emotions in a safe setting is critical to being a whole person. God is the safest person there is when it comes to unpacking the complexity of human feelings. Scripture is filled with honest conversations from God’s people to God. He can handle our range of emotions including our anger and sadness. He is not uncomfortable with any human emotion. Being in his presence helps us see things from his perspective, which is always a good thing.
Read Scripture for longer periods of time
When we read the Bible and we expose ourselves to his ways, we recognize the foolishness of our own inclinations. Dive-in to Scripture and read it more than usual. There is a ‘washing’ that comes with reading the Word. It helps clean, heal and redirect us so that we can be as uncluttered as possible so we can carry on with our lives with a clean conscience and be ready to do the next right thing.
Feed thoughts of gratitude
In a moment of tremendous hurt, it’s easy for us to believe that the sky is falling and that this is the beginning of a series of dark days ahead. There may be significant challenges ahead, but finding the people, places, and pointed-moments that we can thank God for helps us put our wound in its proper place. The fresh wound doesn’t need to define us, because there is so much going on around us that we can choose to thank God for.
Endorphins are a gift from God that help us feel better! When we exercise, we practice self-care and we invest in our own well-being. Someone else may have mistreated us, spoke a cruel word about us, or acted unjustly toward us; but that doesn’t mean we should stop caring for ourselves. Avoid medicating through destructive actions, or habits and start with body movement. A brisk walk outdoors, a stretching exercise on YouTube or a run outside can do incredible things for our mind, body and soul. You will be amazed how physical activity can be catalytic toward a better perspective.
Talk to peers
This is a tricky one! Only speak with people you can trust, have a healthy measure of wholeness and who are known for their wisdom. When speaking to others we need to be mindful of the opportunity we have to slander another person. When talking to peers, speak with them about ‘your emotions’—and avoid the temptation to cast the other person who wounded you in a poor light. This can quickly cement your emotions and create self-justification and lead to further deepening the injury. Our wounds are not justification for destroying another person’s reputation.
Get an objective perspective Get an objective perspective
Counselors and Pastors don’t have all the answers, but they are skilled at waking up the right response within us. They are bound by confidentiality and when you speak with them, they are positioned well to listen, validate, redirect and pray. Scripture teaches, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
Wounds are real, not imagined. They need to be processed responsibly and not ignored. To be hurt is to be human and to heal requires the help of God and his healing community.
Dave Larmour | Lead Pastor
*These ideas were adapted from Thom Rainer’s Podcast – Rainer on Leadership