People often have trouble moving on quickly after someone says something to them that they find offensive, hurtful, or insulting. This has been an area of weakness for me since I was a child. I wish I knew at the time how to let insults roll off my back, but I am learning now. I want to share this with others. I hope it helps kids and adults learn that they don’t have to let someone else’s words ruin their day.
When someone says something to me that I find hurtful, insulting, etc. I get a knot in my stomach/chest and my heart starts beating fast. My head feels a little foggy and it becomes hard to concentrate. Can anyone relate to this? The worst part about this for me, is that it usually occurs at work.There are times that these instances ruined my whole day or even my whole week.
Over the past year, I have found ways to combat these feelings and bounce back quickly. I am by no means great at it yet, but I feel the progress each time I do it.
Here are the six strategies I use to move on quickly:
1. I take the time to notice how my body feels. I identify that my heart is beating fast, I have a pit in my stomach, etc. I remind myself that I need to concentrate on what is going on around me. I also tell myself that the feeling will subside and I have the power to take care of it or let it linger. I control the feeling. It does not control me. How do you feel when someone insults/hurts you? Take the time to notice how your body responds.
2. I remind myself of my positive qualities, which helps build my confidence, and helps me be less affected by others. For example, I always go out of my way to help someone in need, I am very empathetic towards others, I am a good listener, I like to share, and I am someone you can call when you are in trouble. It is hard to be down on myself or feel bad about a hurtful thing someone said to me, when I know I encompass all of these traits, even if others don’t seem to notice. What they say, will never take this away from me or change who I am and just because they said it, doesn’t make it true. What are your strengths! What makes you such a good person that it is hard to be down about the negative stuff? Look at the list below. I am sure you can find at least five things that show you how great you are.
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3. I remind myself that the person who said it, has their own life and set of experiences which are different from mine. They perceive things differently. Their experiences and perceptions influence what they say. While some comments are down right insulting and are meant to hurt you, others are not intentional. The person saying it may not even realize that you are offended or would even be offended. And, if they are purposely trying to offend you, then they need to learn how to communicate without being cruel to others. That is their problem, not yours. So the bottom line is, I try not to take it personally.
4. Every time I put myself in a situation where there are other people, especially one where I share my thoughts, opinions, or ideas, I am taking a risk that someone might say something offensive, insulting, etc. I know it is a common occurrence, and unless I stay alone in my house, there is really no way to avoid it. You can’t please everyone, and someone will always have something to say. I am not going to avoid social situations because of what someone else might say. I remind myself that it is a part of life. It happened before and it will happen again.
5. I set small goals for myself. For instance, when I first started using these strategies, I noticed that the last time my feelings were hurt by someone else’s statements, it took two days to feel okay again and be able to let it go. So, I tried to beat that. If last time it took two days, next time I won’t dwell on it for more than six hours. As I improve I challenge myself more. Last time it happened I moved on in about 20 minutes. As I said, I am improving and it is a process.
6. I am not claiming affiliation with a specific religion but I am spiritual and have faith in a higher power. So, since I am spiritual, I believe that all of us have a purpose and things happen for a reason. Having faith in something more makes it easy to let it go and believe there was a reason the comment was made, even if I may never know what that reason is. Looking back at my life I can see that so many negative things led to positive things, and while those negative things hurt at the time, I have moved on from them and become stronger. And, when I say moved on, I mean that I have been able to be happy and bounce back from hurtful things that have happened in my life. If I did it before, I could do it again, so why let an insult or negative comment ruin my day. I want to enjoy my day. Not be down all day because someone hurt my feelings.
Side note: if you are being regularly harassed, humiliated, or insulted by someone, the focus should be to get yourself out of that situation and/or report it.
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What do you do to bounce back or move on when someone says something that hurts you?
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Rachel Wise is a certified school psychologist and licensed behavior specialist with a Master’s Degree in Education. She is also the head author and CEO at educationandbehavior.com, a site for parents, educators, and counselors to find effective, research-based strategies that work for children. Rachel has been working with individuals with academic and behavioral needs for over 20 years and has a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of children and the adults who support them. For Rachel’s top behavioral strategies all in one place, check out her book, Building Confidence and Improving Behavior in Children, a Guide for Parents and Teachers.