Some times our loved ones hurt us. Dads can get physical or disappear from our lives. Moms can betray us with their anger and lack of support. A best friend can shock us by turning their backs on us. A spouse can be unfaithful and destroy our trust. Our children can take a destructive path that is sure to crush our heart. These are some of the big hurts in life that leave us wondering how we will ever heal.
But there are little hurts too that can build into mountains of resentment if we don’t address them. Angry words are exchanged during an argument. A friend neglects your friendship. People take you for granted without even knowing it. Your child rejects you in a moment of hurt and frustration.
To hang on to hurt or anger is destructive to our emotional, spiritual, physical and relational health. It drains our energy, strains our relationships, and zaps the joy from our life. So how do we heal our heart when love hurts? Here are some suggestions to help you move beyond the hurt and get on with enjoying life.
Confront Your Anger: Our initial reaction when someone hurts or betrays us is often anger. Maybe we feel violated or disrespected. We want to perhaps lash back and make the other person hurt. Refrain from doing that. Anger expressed when we are hurt can be distorted and damaging to our relationships. Take some time to handle your anger in another way. Talk with a trusted friend, counselor or life coach. Express your feelings in a journal or write a letter to the person who hurt you (but don’t give it to them).
Seek Truth and Understanding: How can you better understand the person who hurt you? What truth do you need to know about the other person? Sometimes people hurt us because they are hurting too. Other times people hurt us unintentionally. Ask for the truth and be willing to hear, accept and embrace it. Share your truth and help the other person understand you.
Search for the Lesson: Experiencing pain and suffering is not easy. However, there is usually a lesson to be learned from our pain. What aren’t or weren’t you paying attention to? What does this experience teach you about yourself and the other person? What changes need to be made as a result of your pain? While the human drama includes pain, we have a choice in how to view it.
Give Grace: We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Some mistakes are worse than others, and some mistakes hurt more than others. Most of us are doing the best we can in any given situation. People make choices based on their past, their belief systems, and the past and collective thought of humanity. Unfortunately, people sometimes make choices that hurt us. We need grace when we make choices that hurt our loved ones, and our loved ones need grace as well.
Accept the Love Deposits: When we are hurt, it is sometimes difficult to accept the apologies and attempts to make amends from our loved ones. Maybe your guard has been thrown up and you’re unsure if you can trust again. One way to heal a wounded heart is to allow yourself to truly feel the sincere love deposits that are made to your emotional bank account. Maybe the love will come from the person who hurt you, but maybe it will not. Seek out and embrace the love that is being given to you.
Grieve the Sadness: With hurt comes sadness. Maybe you feel sad about what happened. Perhaps you feel sad about what you didn’t receive. Sometimes the sadness is an indication that you need to grieve the loss of a dream. Allow yourself to feel the sadness – let the tears flow. Crying is a very cathartic ritual.
Set Appropriate Boundaries: When our loved ones hurt us continually, we may need to set boundaries for healing to take place. A child may need to go to his room when his anger is destructive. You may need to end a conversation with someone who is hurting you. It’s even possible that you need to end a relationship that is repeatedly hurting your self-esteem. Healing cannot take place if we don’t take care of ourselves. And people will not begin treating us with respect until we respect ourselves.
Forgive: Lastly, we need to forgive so that we can move on with life. Forgiving does not mean that we condone our loved ones behavior. It does not mean that we allow others to keep hurting us. To forgive means to give up all resentment and the desire to punish the other person. In our heart, it means we’ve cancelled the debt we feel others owe us.
Sometimes the only way to know love is to experience what love is not. Whatever the question, challenge or decision, love is always the answer. God is perfect love, and His desire is for us to model His character. Healing from hurts moves us closer to love.