I’m a big Eleanor Roosevelt fan, but I think she’s slightly off base here. My personal take is, “No one can make you continue to feel inferior (or fill-in-the-blank-emotion) without your consent.”
Having a feeling — good, bad, up, down or otherwise — is not a judgment call on my worth as a conscious human being. It’s just a feeling. In order to get to the point where I can make a choice about how I continue to feel, I need it out of the way. Which means, I need to feel it.
There’s a process to dealing with hurt feelings and it, like the 7 stages of grief, cannot be circumvented not matter how hard I try (and try and try and try). Here’s what I’ve got…
#1. Feel It. Most emotions are chemical reactions and cannot be stopped, so don’t try. It won’t kill me.
#2. Accept that I just had an emotional reaction to something. That acceptance can be passive or embracing. It depends on what seems most appropriate at the time.
#3. Express it. This is the hardest part. This is when I get kerflufed in judging myself as bad for having had the feeling. I get tangled up in wondering what prompted the other person to say such a thing. Is it a veiled truth? What’s my responsibility here?
All these thoughts are premature. I can’t ask myself anything like that and expect to be able to effectively sort it through if I’m still coated in the oozy gray-green yuck of the emotion-chemical-pain. That muck makes it so hard to figure out what to say, but ultimately that’s what it means by ‘express it’. I have to say something. I have to say it well. I hate this. I suck at it.
#4. Decide. It’s easiest to choose whether or not to harbor the hurt or to remember that it’s in the past and that it’s my ego holding onto it. Decide if I want to continue to feel like crap. Generally, the answer is No, IF I think about it. If I don’t think about it, the crappy feeling tends to continue.
#5. Sit with it. This is when I get to get to the step I want to skip to after #2. Now that the yuck is cleared off and I’ve decided not to hurt any more, I can ask myself why it did in the first place.
Yes, my feelings got hurt recently. Yes, I took fooooorrreeevvveeeeer with step #3. Did I mention that I hate that part?
Once I finally got to it, I felt better. Ta Da-combined with a sheepish forehead slap. Of course, there’s such a relief that I don’t want to bother with #4 and #5.
Can I just skip it?
Susan Scot Fry
Answer: I can try to skip it and it will bite me in the butt.
The real question is, do I prefer to have a ragged night’s sleep because my brain is twirling with angst or do I figure out how to say something and obtain a righteous zonk at night? It’s not really a question. Obviously, I’d rather get no sleep because that’s what I do.
I believe I’m going to try an alternative course. My challenge:
1. Figure out how to say something without accusing the other person of being an asshole. Heck, they might have been, but it’s RARE that someone sets out purposefully to be one.
1a. This will be easier when I assume best intentions. This is advice I’ve given to other people over and over again. Physician heal….
2. Don’t go to bed angry. Advice that echoes down the ages.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Assuming my feelings ever get hurt again.