How to Deal With Hurt Feelings

You will smile again.
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Hurt feelings can prompt brooding or resentment, sometimes leading to even greater emotional distress You can learn to cope with emotional pain and move on, but letting go takes self-awareness and deliberate action.

1 Moving Beyond Hurt Feelings

Brooding over hurt feelings is unproductive for a number of reasons, suggests psychologist Guy Winch, author of the book, "Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts." Winch says that playing the same hurtful scenario over and over creates no real insight, but, instead, diminishes problem-solving and good decision-making, in his Psychology Today article, "Ten Surprising Facts About Brooding." When you do this, you dig the painful memory into a deeper memory groove, creating a sense of victimization and helplessness. As the scenario repeatedly replays, your brain triggers one distressing thought after another, until this cycle of thinking becomes an inescapeable habit.

2 Ways to Overcome Hurt

Winch also stresses the importance of making an effort to avoid brooding. Doing something that forces focus, like completing a crossword puzzle or playing a card game, can be helpful because it points you away from your painful feelings by redirecting your thoughts. You might also do some things to diminsh negative self-talk, like list your accomplishments, recall getting compliments on your innovative work, or think about people who enjoy your company and tell you what fun you are. Focusing on positive traits creates resilience, helping you cope with future hurts that are an everyday part of life, like slights, insults, snubs and criticism.

3 Becoming Less Sensitive to Hurt

Sensitivity to rejection helps you decipher social cues, allowing you to adjust your social behaviors, notes Columbia University professor of psychologyGeraldine Downey, in an interview with Columbia's Research Journal. On the other hand, rejection, criticism and misunderstandings can be a source of painful feelings. Becoming less sensitive to hurt and better able to cope with emotional pain requires you to re-frame how you see things. For instance, if someone acts abruptly, rather than telling yourself you are not wanted, tell yourself the person is having a hard day. By re-framing, not personalizing and not jumping to conclusions, your hurt become minimized.

4 Forgiveness Helps You Let Go of Hurt

Finally, if hurt is deep and long lasting, practicing forgiveness is a positive way to lessen that pain. A article, "Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness," suggests that forgiving is a deliberate act of releasing resentment and bitterness. Forgiving requires self-awareness and letting go of your role of victim. It takes courage to release hurt, but the freedom that follows is worth it.

Yvonne Jayne has worked as a counselor in schools and private practice throughout West Hawaii since 1996. She holds a master's degree in education. She specializes in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its developmental effect on learning challenged children. She taught parenting classes for the Department of Human Services and co-authored the 0-5 curriculum for children and families in the Healthy Start Program of West Hawaii.