How to Overcome Hurt and Start Moving on with Your Life

Mohandas Gandhi

Nobody can hurt me without my permission.

Are You Feeling Hurt?

Life is often a roller-coaster ride of emotions. It’s full of ups and downs, and filled with many surprises along the way. It’s nice to think that you will always be happy and fulfilled, but unfortunately that’s not quite possible living in our social world. Sooner or later things will not turn out as you had hoped for and you will end up hurt. However, feeling hurt isn’t a bad thing. It’s kind of a “wake-up call” that you can effectively use to go down a different path that will bring you a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness in the future.

Reasons for Feeling Hurt

If you have a think about the reasons why you’re feeling hurt, what you will realize is that most of these reasons are actually based on your perspective of the situation. What this suggests is that you are actually aggravating your feelings by thinking a certain way about the situation. This is very important, because the moment you transform your thinking, is the moment you shift your perspective of the situation and begin seeing things anew — in more empowering ways. Therefore feeling hurt is often nothing more than a state-of-mind — an interpretation you have made about your experience.

Let’s quickly take a look at a variety of reasons why you might be feeling hurt:

  • You are feeling hurt because someone did something or behaved in a certain way, and this has hurt your feelings.
  • You are feeling hurt because of the impatience shown by another person in a specific situation. You are perceiving their impatience as a personal attack on you, and this has caused you to feel miserable.
  • You are feeling hurt because you have a victim mentality. You feel sorry for yourself and sorry for your life. Everything that happens to you seems like a direct personal attack.
  • You are feeling hurt because you have an unmet need for self-love. This “need” is craving for love and attention from others. This makes you very susceptible to people’s opinions and criticisms.
  • You are feeling hurt because you feel as though you’ve been betrayed, disrespected, rejected, deceived, let down, or unfairly accused or criticized.
  • You are feeling hurt because you lack attention to detail. Something has happened, however things aren’t clear — there’s a misunderstanding resulting from a miscommunication.

Going down this list it’s easy to see how your feelings of being hurt result from a combination of how you perceive a situation and how others tend to respond to you throughout the day. You have control over your perceptions and can change them at will, however you don’t have control over other people’s opinions, behavior and actions. People will at times say and do things that will hurt you. However, often these things have nothing to do with you but are rather based on people’s own insecurities and problems. For this very reason it’s important you don’t take things personally, and instead practice detaching yourself from these emotional situations.

The Consequences of Feeling Hurt

Being overly sensitive to other people’s feelings, actions and opinions can often put a significant strain on your relationships. In fact, your hurt feelings can pile up over time, which can eventually lead to resentment, then anger, then sadness, and finally a deep state of depression. It will force you to hold onto grudges, to seek revenge, to lose all faith and trust in people, and to wallow in cynicism and self-pity.

All of this stems from the fact that you are taking things too seriously and personally. Everything another person does seems to be a direct attack on you and your personality. You feel as though other people are out to get you — as though the world is after you. However, this is rarely the case. Your perceptions are clouding your vision and triggering your hurt feelings.

In the event that another person did hurt your feelings on purpose, it’s important to understand that they did this because they are in pain and they are also hurting in some way. The moment you realize this, is the moment you can act with compassion rather than in anger or any other emotion that might aggravate the situation.

Feeling Hurt

The Process for Overcoming Hurt

Overcoming hurt feelings isn’t easy. It takes patience and time to work through these emotional wounds. However, it is possible and can be done. Here is a four step process you can work through whenever you are feeling hurt:

Step 1: Settle Down Your Emotions

The moment you are hurt, it’s important to immediately settle yourself down to prevent your emotions from overwhelming you. The best way to do this is to remove yourself from the situation and take some time to calm your emotions and settle your mind. This period of separation will prevent you from jumping to rash conclusions about the situation. Maybe things aren’t as they seem to be. At the very least, this separation will help you to avoid further conflict that could potentially aggravate your emotions and the situation even more.

Step 2: Get Clear About What Exactly Happened

Now that you are alone, it’s important that you take time to reflect about the events that have transpired. Try to understand what exactly happened, what the person said or did, and also try and gain some insight into your own behavior, reactions and the emotions you are feeling in the moment. Ask yourself:

What happened?

How did I initially feel about this situation?

What was my initial response to this situation?

Why did I respond in this way?

How am I feeling at this very moment?

Why am I feeling this way?

These questions will help you pinpoint what exactly is happening on the surface. However, your hurt feelings might actually go a little deeper. Maybe your feelings of hurt have nothing to do with this moment but rather stem back to a culmination of events that have taken place over a period of time. Ask yourself:

What is really causing my feelings of hurt?

Do these feelings of hurt go beyond these events?

What could be the underlying cause of my feelings?

What important insights do I gain from this analysis?

If you realize that your feelings of hurt do not necessarily stem from this particular situation, then you have some work to do on a personal level to resolve past feelings that are actually causing you pain. For this very reason it’s important that you take under consideration your past hurts throughout this period of self-reflection.

Let’s now reflect upon and consider the other person’s perspective of the situation and why they did what they did. Ask yourself:

What was the other person trying to do?

Why did they do or say these things?

What are they trying to gain from this situation?

Did they just hurt me, or did they also hurt other people as well?

What could have triggered their words and/or behavior? Was it stress?

Now take some time to consider possible misunderstandings and maybe even the other person’s real intentions. Could it be possible that your assumptions about the other person’s intentions might be in error? Ask yourself:

Did they hurt me intentionally?

Am I potentially misreading this person’s intentions?

What could their real intentions be in this situation?

Do they have my best interests at heart?

What if there is a misunderstanding here?

What information will I need from the other person to clarify this situation?

It’s possible that the other person got caught up in the heat of the moment and said or did things they didn’t mean. Likewise, it’s also possible that they are in pain themselves. They are hurting, and unfortunately directing this energy onto you. This should therefore indicate that their words and actions have absolutely nothing to do with you, but rather all to do with their own personal insecurities. Ask yourself:

Could they be hurting in some way?

What could be the source of their pain?

How could I best get them to open up and talk about their feelings?

Finally, it’s important that you re-evaluate your expectations of the circumstances and the people involved. Ask yourself:

What did I expect should have happened in this situation?

What did I expect the other person should have done?

Are my expectations realistic? Are they helpful?

What if I had different expectations? How would that help?

You’re feeling hurt because in one way or another your expectations weren’t realized. There’s nothing wrong with that, however it certainly doesn’t help if you have a set of unrealistic expectations that will rarely if ever be satisfied. In such instances you need to work through your expectations and bring them back to reality, otherwise it’s likely you’re always going to end up hurt.

Overcoming Hurt Process

Step 3: Resolve Your Feelings of Hurt

Having spent some time reflecting upon the situation, it’s now your moment to approach the other person in order to resolve your feelings of hurt and maybe even clarify possible misunderstandings. Just maybe you’re seeing things all wrong and completely misinterpreting events and circumstances. Just be open to the possibilities, and willing to fully understand the other person’s point of view and true intentions.

When approaching the other person about this situation, it’s important to always think before you speak. Don’t say things that you will regret later on. Have a good idea of what you will say in advance, and talk about these things openly and graciously by acknowledging your feelings, acknowledging the other person’s feelings, while discussing the events that transpired. It’s of course paramount that you do not become argumentative or aggressive. It’s important that you do not blame, judge or accuse the other person of doing or not doing something. Instead, be assertive, yet humble and focused on gaining clarification about the circumstances. The more information you have, the better insights you will gather.

Finally, don’t force the other person to make an apology. This will rarely work, and if it does, it won’t be genuine and is likely to create more friction between the two of you. Instead, talk things through and help the other person see things through your eyes. If throughout this process the other person apologizes, then accept their apology. You don’t have to forgive them, but accept that they are at the very least trying to right their wrongs.

Step 4: Time to Make a Decision

You should now have all the information you need to make a decision to either move past these circumstances and forgive the other person, or to let go of your relationship, or simply distance yourself from the other person. The decision you make will depend entirely on how much insight you gained from Step Three of this process. However, no matter what you choose to do, it’s important that you accept what has happened and allow your feelings of hurt fade away.

Suggestions for Overcoming Hurt

Feeling hurt is never an easy emotion to deal with. It’s painful and makes life seem absolutely miserable. However, there are certain things you can do that will help you to minimize your feelings of hurt, and hopefully lay down the groundwork to help you work through your emotions successfully.

Focus on Blessings

When you’re feeling hurt, it’s easy to blow things out of proportion and make certain of aspects of your life larger and more important then they should be. You get so caught up in your feelings of hurt that nothing else seems to matter. However, things do matter. And in fact, if you take time to think about it, there are probably a lot of things that matter, and a lot of things that you can be grateful for.

When feeling hurt, focus on your blessings, and on the things you are most grateful for. This will hopefully put your feelings into their proper context. It may even effectively help you re-prioritize and shift your focus onto more important and meaningful things that will bring you greater happiness and fulfillment in the long-run.

Focus on Your Strengths

In order to find direction during moments of hurt, it’s important that you remind yourself of your strengths and the things that have brought you to this point in your life. Your strengths might be your optimism, faith, patience, forgiveness, honesty, compassion, self-belief, etc. These are the things that will get you through this difficult time. In fact, these qualities can help you regain the confidence you need within yourself to move beyond this painful experience.

It’s therefore important to re-direct your energies away from what is hurting you, and instead focus-in on your strongest qualities that can help you get through this difficult situation successfully.

Let Go of Past Hurts

Are you holding onto things that hurt you years ago? Maybe you’re holding onto these hurts because you feel as though you were unjustly wronged in some way. However, what’s the point? Can you do anything about these hurts right here, right now? If you can’t, then what’s the point of holding onto them? Whatever happened in the past, happened in the past. Let go of these things and move on with your life. This of course doesn’t mean that you should forget everything. By all means don’t forget these important moments. Learn from them, and use them to make better decisions in the present, however don’t allow your past hurts to haunt and aggravate the life you’re living today.

Overcoming Hurt Tips

Smile More Often

Being hurt is a state-of-mind. You are feeling hurt because you are perceiving events, circumstances and people’s intentions in a certain way that makes you feel absolutely miserable. Is it possible that another person might see things differently? What hurts you might not even phase them. It’s all a state-of-mind.

To transform your state-of-mind, try smiling a little more and see how that changes how you feel about the situation. Maybe your feelings of hurt will turn into curiosity. And when this happens, a whole new world of possibilities will open up for you.

Always Accept Responsibility

Your pain feels at its worst when you feel as though you had very little control over the situation. You feel as though someone else is to blame and you become the victim of circumstance. This makes you feel powerless and makes it very difficult to move past your feelings of hurt.

One way to instantly feel better about yourself is to accept responsibility for what happened and for how events transpired. In fact, you probably in some way — directly or indirectly — played a part in creating this situation. Recognize this. You are at least partly responsible for what happened, and this is a good thing, because with responsibility comes the willingness to make positive changes.

Once you feel at least partly responsible, this gives you the strength you need to potentially make things better — to right the wrongs. You now have the power to mend your relationships and lay down a path for a more positive future.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

One of the best ways to make yourself feel better almost instantly is to talk about your feelings with other people. Have a chat with a close family member or friend and explain what happened. Get their perspective and opinion about the situation, and maybe even work together with them to try and resolve your feelings. There is no telling how much better you will feel once you get things off your chest. And who knows, maybe the other person can convince you that there is nothing really here that justifies your feelings of hurt. And maybe that’s all you need to help you move forward through this moment of your life.

Don’t Take Things Personally

You will always end up feeling hurt if you continue to take things personally. Sometimes people say and do things because they are trying to work through their own personal insecurities and problems. In fact, what they say and do might have very little — if anything — to do with you, and all to do with them and their issues. For this reason it’s important that you step outside yourself during moments of hurt and look at the full picture from their perspective as well as from an outsider’s perspective. Maybe this will help you to understand that there is nothing here to feel hurt about. Instead, show a little compassion for the other person and try to help them work through their own personal insecurities.

Overcoming Hurt Guidelines

People Make Mistakes

Sooner or later someone will hurt you. There’s no denying this. It will happen. However, more often then not, people won’t hurt you intentionally. People make mistakes. People make blunders and errors, and end up regretting some of the things they do and say. Of course, they might not own up immediately to these mistakes. To do so would wound their pride. What they need is compassion and understanding, and maybe a little patience on your part. Eventually they will come around and admit their mistakes, but it might take some time. Be there for them and accept them wholeheartedly, because you might very well be in their shoes at some point in the future.

Learn More About Yourself

Every hurt you experience, gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself. It gives you an opportunity to learn more about your values, rules and personal expectations. It gives you an opportunity to learn more about others and about how you relate to other people socially and intimately. It gives you insight into people’s motives, feelings and intentions. It even helps you get to know yourself and your emotional tendencies at a deeper level. And as you learn, you grow, and as you grow you will make better choices and decisions in the future that will help you to manage and minimize your feelings of hurt far more effectively.

Time to Assimilate these Concepts

Overcoming Hurt

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Adam is a life coach, mind mapper, doodler and visual thinker. He founded IQ Matrix in 2009 and has created over 350 self-growth mind maps. He also has a Free 40 Day How to Doodle Course where he teaches how to doodle using simple daily lessons. Read more about Adam’s story, and how he created the concept for IQ Matrix. Feel free to also get in touch and send Adam a message here.