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Hurt People Hurt People

I do a LOT of yoga and meditation and EFT etc. Every day. It makes me presentable, mentally and emotionally, before I see PEOPLE.

In an ideal world, I’d be able to expand the patience I have for Rainbow MagnifiCat to people but I can’t. I expect more from people than I do from a cat.

If Rainbow bites me (it doesn’t hurt, just my pride), I know I’ve misjudged how long a belly rub she wants etc. I know it’s her instinct. I know that she is still a creature of wonderment and magnificence.

I don’t take it personally. I know, ‘Because cat’.

But when HUMANS lash out, Grrrr.

If I were able to recognise that I can’t control what other people do faster (progress not perfection – am much quicker at this than I used to be), I’d be more at ease more at the time.

I’d simply set whatever healthy boundary needed to be set and hold as much love in my heart for them as possible.

In reality, even when I actually LOVE the person or people, my ego can get in the way. I can spend WAY too much thinking about how I can’t BELIEVE they we so ____ and telling myself that I’m right and there’s clearly something wrong with them.

Here are some things that help me remember to stay in my lane and to be as loving as I can be. I hope some might help you next time you’re feeling hurt about anything and don’t want to end up making things worse.

20 ways to deal with hurt feelings

1) Recognise that any pain (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual) is a sign that something is coming up for healing. Take your hand out of whatever metaphorical fire it’s in by putting whatever healthy boundaries need to be put in place

2) If unable to react from an openhearted, compassionate place (we’re human! This is an advanced practice!) give yourself some time and space to lick your wounds before reacting so you don’t pour petrol on the flames. Consciously clear your energy field so you can connect with your Miraculous Self.

3) Remember that what you’re feeling may FEEL very personal but it’s simply the way we’re wired. By remembering this and working WITH the brain and nervous system, you’re better able to access ventral vagal wellness, find that sense of safety and ease, calm the amygdala (the alarm bell of the brain that’s catastrophising about how much worse it will get) and connect with your resourcefulness

4) Do whatever it takes to soothe your troubled soul. You might be able to get out into nature and take inspiration from trees, mountains, the sea etc. You might have access to music or art that inspires awe. Find something that lifts your spirits

5) When you feel ready, reflect on the situation that has hurt you. You might journal around it or talk about it to a trusted loved one (who won’t make things worse) or therapist etc.

6) Allow yourself ALL of your feelings. You might want to tap around them to help release excess charge. You might want to connect with the somatic (bodily) sensations and work with metaphors or simply ask that tension / tightness / itch or whatever it might be what it NEEDS from you. Stamp it out, shout and scream. Get it out of your body and out of your system

7) Give yourself a hug. You might even talk aloud to yourself, in a calming, soothing voice. This will help you calm down, too (we know from Polyvagal Theory that our voices can soothe – or stress – our whole system. And others’). For years, I’ve been encouraging (some – when appropriate) clients and students to use Cat Coaching and talk to themselves as they might a beloved cat, dog, lizard etc

8) Place your hands gently on your heart centre – you might want to rub them together first for extra warmth – and continue with the soothing self talk

9) Connect with ALL the feelings. This Thich Nhat Hanh meditation, identifying and then WELCOMING each feeling, is one of my favourites

10) Do some more clearing. EFT (#6) can be wonderful but Metta and Ho’oponopono are also amazing tools. With the Metta, notice (with compassion) the GRRRs that come up as you send that Loving Kindness to yourself, parts of yourself you may be unhappy with and other people you may be finding especially challenging. Be gentle with yourself

11) Think about what you WANT. As you begin to feel better, the brain is more likely to be clearer. Use that clarity to imagine an ideal world

12) Think about what you’d like to say to the other person (or people) either in the moment or at a later time. Imagine having no fear of consequences. What would you like to say if you felt free and safe enough? This isn’t about ignoring common sense (eg knowing from personal experience how they’re likely to react) but about focusing on how you’d like the relationship/s to evolve

13) With a more realistic viewpoint, assess whether you feel able to express any of that to the other person. You might want to write them a letter and burn it to release any energy that’s hooked into the dynamic. Or you might actually edit it and use it to have a much needed conversation or put the information into an actual letter (or email etc)

14) Again, do all you can to soothe that nervous system, support yourself as you even contemplate a potential confrontation which, with the best intentions of being openhearted, may go awry

15) Imagine the other person as a teeny tiny baby. Gurgling away. This isn’t about excusing bad behaviour but about reminding ourselves that we were all teeny, tiny, helpless souls when we were born. Hurt people hurt people. Again, this is NOT about finding more empathy for someone who has hurt you than you have mustered for yourself but if you feel OK about imagining this, it can be transformative

16) Think again about the boundaries you need to put in place if you still want this person in your life. It may be that it’s the final straw and you can still release them with love while keeping yourself safe and well

17) Light a candle. Let go and let God / Goddess / the Universe / Divine Love / Source / Nature – talk to your angels and guides if that feels good. Connect with the part of yourself – even if you don’t believe in anything bigger – that knows each next best step. Your Higher Self / Self / Atma / True Self / Miraculous Self. Imagine how you’d react if you KNEW you’re so much more than this

18) Keep checking in with your Wild Self – that wise body of yours. Your nervous system. How do you feel when you get a response or contemplate future plans with this person or these people? TRUST YOURSELF. Do more of what feels GOOD. Do less of what hurts you.

19) Think about ALL the people in your life. We’re wired to see a twig as a snake rather than a snake as a twig but this negativity bias that has kept humans alive for so long means in this kind of situation, you might be oblivious to all the WONDERFUL less complex relationships you could be nurturing because so much of your energy is being siphoned onto what’s wrong

20) Be patient with yourself. We often feel an enormous sense of relief after setting a boundary or doing something differently but not everyone will respect them immediately. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed, you simply restate your boundary (and act on it) as often as you need to do so. It’ll get easier to step into and stay in your power (again, using the body and breath can help enormously) but give yourself a break as sometimes it feels more natural and other times like climbing a mountain. You’re worth it and you will get there.

If you’d like more support, the Feel Better Every Day online membership programme may be of interest.

With love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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