sad older woman sitting on couch

Steps to Let Go of Past Hurts

Have you been offended recently by someone’s words or actions? What do you do when you’re offended?

Do you lash out in return? Do you give the cold shoulder or silent treatment? Do you stew in your anger and resentment? Do you retreat in hurt and become withdrawn?

There are obviously any number of reactions we can have to feeling offended. But here’s something that’s true no matter how you react to being offended: Holding onto hard feelings makes life even harder.

Why Holding on to Hard Feelings Is Hurtful

It releases toxic chemicals in our bodies. We can feel it physically when we’re upset or stressed for long periods of time. And it creates chaos in our thoughts, not to mention our relationships and progress on our goals.

What purpose does hanging onto offenses serve? Who are we really punishing? Most likely ourselves. Not the person who offended us.

We carry the burden of our difficult emotions, not the person who wronged us. We gain nothing by holding onto difficult emotions and negative thoughts.

Healthy Ways to Manage Your Hard Feelings

So what’s a healthier choice?

At a minimum, it’s important to pause when you notice you’re experiencing hard feelings. Breathe and label your emotions and give yourself compassion and kindness. Take some time to settle your mind and body down.

Paying attention to and addressing your feelings is a way to restore your own internal sense of control.

Consider writing out what you want to communicate to the person who hurt you. For example, you can write a note or letter you don’t send. The act of writing out the letter will bring greater clarity to the message you want to convey and how you’re feeling.

It’s ok to give it some time, even sleep on it, before you take active steps to clear the air, if that’s what is needed. Ask yourself if the situation occurred in the context of your own hunger, fatigue, or heightened stress level. All of these can lead to exaggerated emotions, sensitivity, and overreaction. Sometimes when you’ve given yourself time to reflect on the experience, you may decide it’s not worth the energy to do anything more than “let it go.”

Depending on the relationship, you may need to communicate directly your thoughts and feelings with the individual. But it’s best to wait until you are in a place of calm. Then it’s time to speak your truth in love. Ultimately, the goal is greater understanding, not engaging in a blame game.

But whatever you do, don’t suppress, repress or ignore your feelings. Give them the space they need. They don’t disappear. They can pop up at other times.

Tend to your soul. You are responsible for your own well-being.

Be a compassionate friend to yourself. Take every feeling to Jesus. Talk to Jesus about each emotion. He cares and is ready to help you restore your peace.

Your experience of life doesn’t have to be defined by the people who hurt you. You have the power to take charge of your reaction, your relationships, and your soul.

If you’re at a place where you are ready to have an experienced coach work with your difficult emotions, set up a free 15 minute call with me. We’ll talk through some of your story and see if we would work well together to start your healing journey.

July 8, 2022


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