The Power of Feelings
One of my least favorite things in the world is hurting someone's feelings. Yet in the past few weeks I have managed to hurt four people's feelings, completely unintentionally.
The old me would beat herself up over and over.
- "You are such a bad person!"
- "You are so selfish"
- "You are such a letdown"
- "You are doing this all wrong!"
That version of me would begin to retreat back to old ways of overgiving of myself, my time, and my energy. My decisions would be based around considering others first, then me second.
I would retreat back to living life in an effort to avoid pain. Pain felt by the self-inflicted guilt and the pain shared by others whose feelings I stomped on.
I would ruminate for days over it. Playing out different scenarios on how I could have handled it better. I would replay apologies over and over, secretly hoping they would hear me.
I would retreat back to tending to others feelings and needs over my own. I would bubble wrap myself so I could move through life with no bruises to my ego, my soul, and my heart. I would move through with smiles on my face and an aching in my heart. I would live to take care of others.
But that version of me has been given permission to go away with the door wide open and my finger pointing out.
The fact is this is a game called life and it is played by humans. Mistakes are going to happen.
Did I intend to intend to hurt anyone's feelings? Never, none of us ever set out to do that. Fact remains that it will happen. You will say something that someone doesn't like.
The reason that you declined an event will make someone mad.
You leaving a job to pursue your calling will leave someone in the lurch.
But the point of our lives is not to make it out without a scratch or a bruise.
Those things just happen because we all are humans.
We have a right to our feelings. Just because you stomped on someone's feelings doesn't make them wrong or bad. It also doesn't make you wrong or bad.
Instead of living for others at the cost of myself and my soul, I'm learning a new reality.
Learn the lessons.
I realize it takes two to tango, so instead of pointing the other finger and judging the other person for their response, I turn inward.
What is my lesson here? Perhaps it is declining with grace without giving reasons as to why. Perhaps it is saying I'm sorry and just acknowledging that the other person was hurt, realizing I cannot change the past with the present.
Whatever it is, I truly believe there is a lesson packaged in there somewhere and I will dig it out because I would rather not repeat the experience because I failed to learn it.
Let others worry about themselves.
Instead of persuading and explaining, it is usually best to give a heartfelt apology and move on.
Honor the person, shower them with love (even if it is just internal), and let them worry about themselves.
I am only responsible for me and the lessons learned.
Apologize and acknowledge the other person's feelings
When someone hurts my feelings, the only thing that I truly want from them is a heartfelt apology without excuses.
Let me repeat that. A heartfelt apology. Without excuses.
"Jennifer, I am so sorry that I hurt your feelings. I never intended to do that."
I feel heard. I feel valued. I feel that we are reconciled.
Don't let your ego get in the way of uttering three powerful words, "I am sorry".
Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving
There are no mistakes, only opportunities for growth even though it can feel like a big blinking sign warning us, "You are going the wrong way!"
After I've turned inward, sought out the lessons, acknowledged my part of the dance, said I am sorry, then it is time to move forward and let it go.
When we continue to focus on it, then we will recreate it. Remember, what you focus on expands. I want to learn and grow, not repeat that pain over and over.
Every day I strive to be a better version of the person I was yesterday. Which means I must learn, I must grow, and I must keep moving forward.
Love on yourself and give yourself some grace. You are doing the best you can today and everyday.