Saturday, April 11, 2015

Strategies for Coping with Hurt Feelings

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  -Jeremiah 17:9

We all know what it means to have our feelings hurt.  It’s that negative sensation of knowing our emotions are damaged to some degree.  The hurt may be superficial or it may cut deeply.  All of us are susceptible to getting our feelings hurt.  Some may deal with it perhaps better than others, but it happens to everyone.  It does help to have what we refer to as a “thick skin,” but even then the hurts still make it through.  Another problem is that with the thick skin approach we can become calloused and hardened to the world around us.

One problem with getting our feelings hurt is we rely too much on second hand information.  We often take at face value what we are told was said about us.  If the comments or observations are negative, the results can be hurtful.  It is also uncomfortable to discover people have been critically discussing us, possibly in harsh terms.  We have all had this done to us, and well, let’s admit it; we have all participated in such talk. 

God’s Word is correct when it says the heart is deceitful above all things.  One moment we feel great, and then we hear how someone, maybe someone we think of as a friend, has allegedly been speaking unkindly about us.  Our emotions then plummet.  Yes, the heart is tricky.  So, what should we do when our feelings are hurt?  How we respond is crucial to overcoming hurt feelings.  The following suggestions may prove beneficial.

Be cautious of taking another person’s words at face value.  Stories are often changed, altered, and misinterpreted in translation.  As a pastor, I am used to hearing the words, “A lot of people are upset about this.”  I often reply to the messenger, “Why don’t you go back and tell those folks to come and speak with me about it.”  “A lot of people” could easy be one to three people, or 10 to 20.  Hopefully, you understand my point.  Such language is extremely subjective.  When someone comes to you and says, “Bill is really angry at you,” remember that is one person interpreting the feelings of another.  Bill may not be as upset as you were told.  And if that is true, then Bill needs to have the courage to come and speak with you face to face in a mature and adult manner.

Beware the knee jerk reaction.  When told something negative that someone else allegedly said, be careful about thinking we have to jump up right then and do something about it.  Or worse, be careful of going to Facebook and writing an essay on how rotten people can be and how upsetting it is when old friends turn on you.  Give it time.  Pray about it.  Allow your emotions to simmer down.  Resolve to say nothing about the situation for a period of time.  If the alleged slanderer is truly your friend, then your friendship will survive it.

Resolve to handle conflict in a mature, calm, and Christ-like manner.  Adults aren’t supposed to yell, scream, and curse.  Get a handle on emotions before they rule and consume you and possibly do irreparable damage.

Have the courage to deal with conflict directly.  Proverbs 27:6 says the wounds of a friend are faithful, but the kisses of an enemy are deadly.  A true friend offers sound advice to our faces.  He or she is mature enough to only deal with us directly.  If someone is creating drama and conflict for us and it is always bringing us down, it may be time to reexamine if the relationship is worth it.

Resolve to only speak positively of other people.  This will place you in a small minority.  You will gain a wonderful reputation of never speaking an unkind word about anyone.  That’s a tall order, but well worth the effort.  It is also biblical and God honoring.

Keep your heart and mind focused on God and His greater plan.  As we grow in grace, we grow in our ability to cope with life’s hurts.

I trust all this is helpful.  How are you coping with life’s hurts and heartaches?  Feel free to leave a comment.  I would be glad to pray for you today.

God bless you.


  1. Your words went deep into my very deceitful heart. How easy it is to get hurt by the thoughts and actions of another. Thank you for the helpful strategies.

  2. You're welcome! I'm glad to be of help. I try to practice these myself, and we have to understand putting these into action requires discipline and commitment. When we resolve to only speak good, positive, and complimentary words about others, we reap wonderful rewards. And learning to step back, take a breath, and think carefully about how we respond to a situation, empowers us to handle conflict more maturely and Christ-like.

    I hope you have a blessed day.