Sometimes you just need to cry the tears of a rapper and hash out those hurt feelings. Sometimes nothing soothes the soul like sweet, musical poetry from Bret and Jemaine. That time is now.
I’ve been reflecting on my own hurt feelings this past week. As much as I try to ignore them and rationalize them (and tell myself to just get over it), they keep creeping back into my life. Recent events have reminded me just how powerful words can be.
Our entire house has been sick for a month now. My husband and I stumble around like zombies — instead of brains, we’re hunting tissues and trying to soak in a hot tub without rubber duckies and little helpers. (For the record, the rubber ducks are winning.) One day, in a congested stupor, Mark paid me one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He thanked me for staying up with Keane and nursing him all night long in the midst of his bout with RSV. Now that he was experiencing the painful sickness, he could empathize with the pain and suffering our nine-month-old endured for nearly two weeks. He probably didn’t think twice about his passing comment, but I often draw strength from those words when I’m running on little-to-no sleep.
The little things have so much power to help or hinder. It was a little thing that caused hurt feelings that linger in the back of my mind. That whisper lies when I am weak. That etch away at my resolve.
A couple of weeks ago, we set out on a family fun Friday. Keane had just gotten over his illness, and Asher had yet to catch it. A sweet day of rest and reprieve from breathing treatments and worrying. We made wonderful memories and watched our children laugh. My heart smiles to think on that day.
And yet, a little thing popped up in the midst of our day that still eats away at my heart.
I received an email in which someone aired their grievances with me. Something I did angered this person, and they took the liberty to put me in my place.
My heart went from elation to devastation as I read the message. Embarrassment gave way to anger (because our perfect day was now sullied for me)…and when the emotional dust settled, I was left hurt. What this other person did not know about me is that one of my main love languages is words of affirmation. I’m sure this person felt justified in saying what they did, but their words completely tore me down and left me feeling isolated.
A few weeks later, those feelings still linger. I’ve mentioned before how it’s difficult for me to open up to others — especially women — and it takes a great deal of courage for me to put myself out there. To open myself up to others inevitably invites criticism and rejection. I go in waves where I work extra hard to keep my heart open, and then, in a crestfallen state, I retreat into myself. Where it’s seemingly safe.
These hurt feelings don’t only apply to me. Undoubtedly, I have hurt other people’s feelings — probably more than I’ll ever know. With every person I encounter, they carry with them a lifetime of experiences, hopes, dreams, and hurts. My words have the power to reinforce or reduce. To edify or destroy.
May I keep this experience close to my heart, so that I may remember how quickly I can alter someone’s day. May I speak loving words that infuse hope. May my words be a healing balm instead of bitter poison.
Psalm 19:14 — “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you…”