To the Woman Who Gets Hurt by Words

We hadn’t been married that long when my husband said, “Theresa why do you take everything so personally?”

Which offended me more than his previous comment had, which yes, I was taking personally.

Does this happen to you? Do you find yourself bristling, mentally arguing, and feeling beat up from other people’s comments? (And we are not talking about comments from our enemies or less liked tribespeople. We are talking about comments from people who love you. People like your mate, kids, friends, and co-workers?)

I know I did every time my husband tried to give me constructive criticism, offer reminders, give advice, or be helpful.

It happened with small thing.

“Turn on your blinker,” he would say while I was driving, and I would think he was putting down my driving ability.

It happened with bigger things.

“Do you think it’s the baby’s bedtime?” felt like he was questioning my ability as a mother.

“That dress does not look as good as some of your other ones. I wouldn’t wear it again,” made me think, “What does he know about fashion?

It didn’t take long before we fell into a predictable habit.

I would silently fume and bristle, and he would think I took everything to personally.

Now before you take sides, I want you to realize it was my perceptions about myself that was derailing me. His comments were just highlighting the false expectations I had of myself.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

When our self-perception gets tied to our worth.

 

I grew up craving approval from my mother.

I also thought I needed to earn love. And one way to earn love from my mother and God was to be perfect. Or so I thought.

Being perfect was my goal. And for a short while I thought I was succeeding more than failing.

Then I got married. And then children came along.

And I slowly realized I was striving for the wind and was far from perfect. Ultimately it didn’t matter. Because God and others still loved me.

Eventually I realized that the dance my husband and I engaged in was partly my fault.

I would pout. Get silent. And sometimes lash back because I felt my husband was being critical, putting me down, and pointing out my faults / weaknesses. How could he love me if he started seeing my flaws? Or so I thought.

I was full of insecurity, and it was showing. Big time.

I was taking his advice, his reminders, his helpful opinions, and turning them into attacks and put downs.

I was putting me worth into my performance (my desire to perform at near perfection and feeling shame when I didn’t).

I wasn’t putting my worth in who God says I am. Worthy forever because he is forever worthy.

I wasn’t allowing myself to be human and make mistakes.

I was forgetting that God’s compassion never fails.

And I forgot my husband had compassion too, and that he saw my weaknesses and still loved me, just like God does.

It wasn’t all his fault.

My self-belief that I had to be perfect was tripping me up. Causing me to fall into self-shame, blaming others for my reactions, and the feeling of “not being enough” over and over again.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

Hurtful words versus helpful words.

 

Advice. Helpful reminders. Different opinions. Criticism. All these can be hard to take graciously. Hard to hear. And I am talking about loving, constructive criticism, not mean-spirited criticism that is disguised as trying to help you put downs and attacks. (And yes, I know many of us have been on the receiving end of this type of negative and soul crushing criticism more than we can count. I am in no way condoning this type, nor do I approve of it masquerading as being helpful or loving. Because it is not.)

But sometimes those who love us are trying to help us in a loving manner. And we need to hear their words. And perceive their words as trying to be helpful, instead of instantly thinking they are finding fault with us and trying to shame us.

A lesson which took me awhile (okay years) to learn. And one I am still learning.

It is something I am trying to teach my kids. When I lovingly correct them, I am trying to help them. Yes, it can be hard to hear we are not as perfect as we believe ourselves to be, but to grow we need some loving feedback.

Not only did I need to change my perception about myself (needing to be perfect in order to be loved), but I also needed to change my perception about criticism (not all criticism is bad).

Now I am not saying I have achieved perfection in this area, or even success, but I will say I am getting better.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

9 tips to deal with hurtful words. 

 

Here are some things that have helped me deal with words that seem hard to hear. Words that I immediately bristle at and want to define as an attack:

1. Ask if there is any truth in what they are saying. If the truth meter does not register at least 60 -70% truth, then don’t waste your time trying to evaluate if their words can be useful. (They are probably just attacking you and speaking in anger.)

2. Pause to look at the situation from their point of view. Are they trying to help you? Remind you? Hurt you? Their wording may not be as mild as you would like (and something you would definitely tweak if you could), but are their intentions good and pure?

Separate what the person is saying from how they are saying it. My husband is direct, a man of few words. He gets right to the point, which tends to catch me off balance. I want a paragraph and maybe some side stepping before you step on my toes. But that is not his style. Over time he has tried to be less harsh and I have tried to not get so offended by his launching right into his message.

3. Limit your self-talk to the actions they are talking about. Not you as a person. Being late does not make you a bad person. It only makes us human. Don’t start beating yourself up and make it bigger in your mind when someone is only addressing an action.

4. Don’t get hooked by their comments. Separate yourself from the criticism. Look at it from outside your body, as if you are your friend, and evaluate what is said. Our instant response is often generated by our self-perceptions and past and may not be the intent of the speaker.

Ask yourself, what is the goal of the person who is speaking? To get you side railed. Upset you. Vent. Bring up the past. Help you. Etc.

5. Tell yourself the truth, especially God’s truth. You are more than your actions. Loved faults and all. Especially after harsh and critical words that leave you wounded.

6. Realize everyone is entitled to their own opinions, thoughts, and perceptions (which will often be different from yours). So, they don’t like your yellow paint. You do. Agree to disagree and try not to take it personally.

7. Take responsibility for only what you can control. Your own actions and thoughts. Not their thoughts, words, anger, perceptions, etc.

8. Try to catch yourself (even if it a day after the incident) when you jumping to shame and blame because that is how you were raised or because it is your default method or internal self-talk.

Determine if a false self-perception is tripping you up. Are you thinking you need to be perfect? That everyone is out to get you? That you are not loveable with faults? That if people only knew the truth they would not like or love you? That you will never be enough? Are you trying to prove your mother, father, coach, or someone else wrong?

9. Run the words or scenario past a friend and see how they interrupt the scenario.

I do this a lot with my sister. Having an unbiased opinion often provides a lot of clarity. Sometimes she reminds me that I am making too much out of the situation and to just let it go.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

Change takes time.

 

I know this is a long list.

And no, neither your or I can do all of these tips with every situation, or even during the conversation. But we can do many of these after the conversation and see if our initial response was correct or false. We can see if we need to take the words to heart or toss them aside.

We can replay the scenario and decide what we would do next time. Which prepares us for more success in the future. And allows us to learn from the incident.

We can become more aware of the words others are using and how those words are causing us to miss-perceive things about our self and them.

Like always, give yourself grace. Lots of it. Life is a process of learning and growing.

So, celebrate your steps on this journey, no matter how small.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: Do you find yourself sensitive to words? How do you deal with hurtful words. 

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

 

Truth for When You Feel Far from Beautiful

Hey beautiful! Yes You!

Quit swiveling your head like a steering wheel. Looking to see if I am talking to someone else.

Because I am talking to you.

And you are beautiful. So beautiful and loved.

I know there are days you feel unloved. Days you feel about as beautiful and put together as a smashed crayon with the paper ripped off. Days you ask what am I doing? Days you doubt your impact on anything more than your ability to ruin things.

But I am here to tell you that you are beautiful. You are loved. Even when it feels like you are not.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

We see people differently.

When I met my husband, he was so gorgeously handsome. I mean my girlfriends could not keep their eyes off him and kept telling me they would be happy to take him off my hands.

And when we got engaged, people were telling me that we would have the best marriage because he was so handsome. (As if his looks were all that were necessary for a great marriage!)

Well years have passed, and time has diminished some of his jaw-dropping looks, but to me, he is looking better than ever.

And no, it is not because he undertook some ab-defining exercise program or got some cuts and tucks here and there. Or started using some eye un-crinkler, line disappearing moisturizer. It’s because I know him so much better. I see his actions. I know his attitude. His heart.

I see how he patiently talks to our teen son and explains things to him. I notice how he looks out for us and plans for our future. I observe how he sweeps our daughter’s floor and plays peek-a-boo with her toddler. I see how he mows the lawn on the hottest days, so our yard looks nice. I notice how he helps his sister and mother, using his vacation days to do chores and tasks for them. I hear him ask me how I slept last night and encourages me to take care of myself. I appreciate how he encourages me to get together with girl friends and go on sister trips. I watch as he cleans the dining hall after the homeless have eaten. I watch how he wipes the inside of the fridge until the shelves sparkle.

This and a million other things.

Things that serve his family and others.

Things that communicate his love to those who matter to him.

I love him more than when I married him and find him more attractive. Not because he romances me on weekends. Surprises me with flowers every month. Or whispers how beautiful I am at odd times during the day. Or gets me diamond jewelry every birthday. (The usual things movies and advertisements say communicate love and devotion.) Because these are not his normal ways of communicating his love. (And if I was looking for only these things, I would miss his unique way he shows his love.)

No, I love him more because he gets up in the middle of the night to retrieve an escaped dog. He spends hours researching his sister’s health problems. He works hard to provide for his family. He communicates his love by doing, serving, and showing concern.

His actions. His attitude, romance me.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

What makes you beautiful?

And the same applies for you.

It’s not make-up and high heels and jewelry that make you beautiful. It’s your heart of service. Your love and devotion you show to your family and others.

It’s getting up to comfort a sick child in the middle of the night. It’s the hours you spend planning the family vacation. The multitude of dishes you wash each and every day. It’s making meal after meal when you no longer even know what to make. It’s getting up early and doing the morning routine so that the house is ready to welcome the rest of the family as they tumble out of covers.

It’s choosing not to buy that new dress so that the kids can have new clothes. It’s wanting the best for your family. Not leaving them just the leftovers of time and materials at your disposal. It’s you defending your tribe to others. It’s your encouragement on their down days. Your cheering them on. Your laughter that circles the house and brightens their day.

It’s thinking of them daily. Thinking about their needs. Helping them achieve their potential.

All these things make your beautiful. And more beautiful as time goes on.

It’s your heart. Your attitude. Your actions of service.

These make you beautiful to others. To your tribe. To those who know you.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.Remember you are beautiful, despite how you feel.

I want you to realize this.

Even when you don’t feel beautiful.

And when one of your tribe members says, “You are beautiful.”

I want you to quit thinking deafening thoughts aloud in your gray matter that you are not beautiful. Quit listing reasons you are not beautiful. Or the reasons you will never be beautiful. Or why you don’t deserve to be called beautiful.

Even if you are standing in the kitchen in your torn nighty with un-brushed teeth and night sweat skin and feet that need some serious lotion to stop the flaking.

Quit the talk that negates their proclamation of you.

Because to them, you are beautiful.

Even standing in your nighty.

Because they are looking through eyes different than yours.

Because they are seeing straight into your heart and soul. They are seeing the real you who fiercely loves them back. The you who serves them day and night and even worries about them in your dreams.

They are seeing the true you.

The beautiful you.

Sure, high heels and makeup may shine up the outside a bit and make you feel a little more beautiful. But your tribe doesn’t need those reminders to see your true beauty.

Just hug them back and say, “Thank you.”

Accept their free-word-gift of encouragement without criticism.

And keep being your beautiful self.

Because maybe the real question isn’t if you are beautiful, but what makes you beautiful.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What makes others beautiful to you?

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

Do You Ever Feel Unnoticed and Undervalued?

Recently I got in a funk.

A dark cloud hung over and throughout me. It seemed everything I did was failing, late, or not good enough.

I felt undervalued. Unnoticed.

I also felt my brain power was underused.

I mean, how much brain energy does it take to figure out when to start a load of wash when it needs to be done by X (okay, maybe that’s an algebra word problem, so that could take some brain power). Or what time should I jump in the car to chauffeur students for an after-school event ( another algebra question; they did say algebra would be used in life)? Or answer questions like, “Where are my socks?” Or decide what to make for dinner?

I was feeling the woe-is-me blues, and singing what-is-the-use tunes.

About this time, my teen son asked, “Mom aren’t you looking forward to retiring one day? Because I sure am.” And all I could think was, Retire? Are you kidding? Someone will always be asking, “What’s for dinner?”

I know, pretty pathetic.

But I think many of us have been here. Maybe we are hearing more complaining than appreciation. More what-were-you-thinking than thank-yous. Maybe we are going through a rough time. Maybe we are comparing ourselves to someone else who has a more exciting life (or at least seems to). Maybe our life is full of more slow zones and speed bumps than straight-aways and race tracks. Or maybe we are just tired or doing the same tasks day after day. After day. And we see no end in sight.

A young mother once confided. “I think my whole day revolves around food. I make breakfast. Cleanup breakfast, and then it is time to make lunch. I make lunch. Cleanup lunch, and it is time to make dinner. I make dinner. Cleanup dinner, and it is time to go to bed. Then get up and repeat. This happens day after day.”

Yup. Anyone relating? Excitement for our life has jumped out the window.

Our commitment for our current job of service to our current tribe is growing lukewarm.

Maybe it is not cooking and cleaning and the endless cycle of doing it again and again that’s got you down, maybe it is not being noticed at work. Maybe it is doing work that seems not even related to your degree. Maybe it is cleaning up your co-worker’s messes. Maybe it is watching others get credit and you get none. Maybe it is having a boss who undermines you. Maybe it’s working late without compensation.

Whatever the reason, there will be times we feel undervalued, invisible, and unappreciated.

There will be times we get tired of doing the same thing over and over. Tired of our current lot in life. Tired of being good old us.

It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.

So, what’s a woman to do?

I wish I could just demand, okay maybe decree, a bigger fuss be made over my efforts and the tasks I do all day. Flowers, chocolate, a two-week vacation, a thank you card, and a surprise party with flashing lights and dancing would be a good start.

But that isn’t happening.

I could whine, complain, and guilt those around me by reminding them of my worth and my priceless value to them. I could tell them to thank me, quit taking me for granted, and expect a lot less from me.

But that won’t make them or me happy. (Who wants a gift when you have to guilt someone into giving it to you.)

I could play the martyr role and remind everyone loudly through sighs and flippant or sarcastic comments that I deserve better and they are using me.

But goodness, that isn’t a win-win for all parties.

I could just do my own thing on my own time schedule and say hell to the rest.

But throwing a big fit doesn’t end well or make me or them feel good.

I could focus on everything that I perceive as wrong, on all the injustices and slights and circumstances I wish were changed, on how I wish reality really was, and on how discontented I was.

But that will only make me more miserable than before and send me into a fast-downward spiral. Guaranteed.

I suppose I could just go on strike, but that’s not fair. And what if they went on strike? What a mess we would have.

It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.

Remember you are in control.

I can’t say I didn’t do a little bit of some of the above, because I am human and I did, but then reality set in. I realized I could only change myself, not them. I could only change my attitude, not the situation.

In other words, I had a lot more control than I originally thought. I was not a victim, like I was making myself out to be in my mind. I had more control over the situation than I was thinking I had. And I had more control over myself and my choices than I was thinking I had.

I had to stop the downward spiral of a pity party. Yes, it seems silly to even admit I was feeling sorry for myself when I am so blessed, and lead an easy life compared to lots of other people (why do we never compare our self to someone less fortunate to us during a pity party?).

I realized I needed to change my thinking.

There wasn’t only one ahh moment. Or a 10-minute call-to-clarity moment. It happened over a time period.

First, I tried to Identify why I was discontent and in a bad, terrible, pity-me mood. Anybody heard of selfishness? Well, so had I. And I was smack deep in a knee-high pile of wanting to do my own thing on my own timeframe and a who-cares-about-some-other-people kind of attitude.

Unpretty things were in my mind. And they were coming out in my attitude and feelings.

I thought about my attitude. What was wrong with it? How was it unrealistic?

I thought about how I wanted it to be. How God wanted it to be.

As I put on my thinking cap in the car one day, while out doing errands, I remembered that Jesus came to live a life of service to others. He did what his parents wanted him to do. What his teacher wanted him to do. And always, what his father wanted to do. I am sure he didn’t always want to do what his parent’s asked. I am sure he didn’t always want to heal another person. Give another sermon. Stop the bickering of the disciples. Deal with the daily grind of living. Yet he cheerfully did.

We know he certainly didn’t want to do his last and biggest task, if at all possible. Yet he willingly did. Because he didn’t come to live for himself and do what he wanted to do. He didn’t come to gather accalades and praise. No, he came to fulfill the plan that had been set in motion before we were even created. He came to serve us and his father.

Wasn’t I called to imitate Jesus?

Well that train of thoughts put some things in perspective.

Then I talked to a trusted friend. Admitted my not so pure thoughts and attitude and she empathized with me. Encouraged me to keep up the good work. And pointed out ways I was appreciated and valued.

A few days later I was at church.

The text was about Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding feast. His first miracle. And as the pastor was talking about how Jesus quietly and behind the scenes changed the water into wine, I realized he was not drawing attention to himself. He was not Instagraming the moment to let everyone know about his first miracle. He wasn’t having a disciple call the newspaper to do a write up. He didn’t even announce to the guests that this delicious and better wine was the result of his doing. No, he quietly and humbly served the guests, fulfilled his mother’s request, and saved the wedding feast.

It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.

Change what can be changed.

We may not be able to change our circumstances or situation, but we can always change our attitude.

Changing our attitude, will help us look at our circumstances and situation with new eyes. Changing our attitude will change our feelings and ultimately our life.

Others can’t fix you. You have to fix yourself. Your attitude.

There are a number of ways to change your attitude. Here are a few

1. Share your heart, feelings, and attitude with a trusted friend. Let them encourage you. Remind you of God’s truth. Pray for you. Listen to you.

2. Know that God always sees you, notices you, and calls you beloved. He appreciates and makes note of your hard work. And loves you fiercely, bad attitude and all.

3. Whether you realize it or not, your faithful example is spurring others to good works. It may feel like others don’t notice, but they do. And without your service, the world would be a dimmer place.

4. Tattoo on your heart that your value is not in what you do or don’t do, but in whose you are.

5. Imitate Christ, who came not be served, but to serve. He did it quietly without fanfare and with no expectations in return.

6. Take charge. People cannot read you mind. We need to tell them what we need and take steps to meet our needs. This may mean scheduling some fun things in life that recharge your soul. Saying no. Focusing on a fewer priorities. Readjusting your schedule and self-expectations. Giving yourself grace.

7. Ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness, but of strength.

8. Change your perspective by counting your blessings. Instead of complaining about washing the dishes, realize you have dishes to wash. Instead of thinking you “have to” make dinner, realize you “get to” make dinner.

9. Pray. Ask to see your situation through God’s perspective, instead of your perspective. This transforms us and our attitude.

10. Get in community with others. Our enemy wants to isolate us and make us think no one understands us, loves us, or knows what we are feeling and experiencing. But this is false; you are only feeling the normal human range of emotions and others will understand. Find some community that does.

11. Learn from the experience and give yourself grace. Then next time it happens, it won’t take so long to identify your downward spiral and start rocketing up and back to balance again.

It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: How have you changed your attitude to change your life?

It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).

It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.It's not uncommon to sometimes feel undervalued and unappreciated in a relationship. Quit waiting for things to change. Take control and try these 11 tips to banish your blues.