What do you do when you feel hurt? I am talking about the emotional hurt and pain. My default is to starting thinking and visualising how I will respond and react. Block the number, leave the group, won't talk to them/him/her, just wait till my time comes etc.
The problem is, none of these strategies really bring the solace and closure that I need. The pain festers, the thoughts continue and surface again at any mention of the person or group.
Hmm, how about talking to the person? Tried that. But, the response mostly has ranged from explanations and justifications to blaming me back for my ‘smallness’. Sharing with friends? It’s been a tiring exercise to prove how I am right and the other is wrong. The ‘tsk tsk’ one gets in return, gives meagre momentary relief if at all. The pain and hurt festers and resurfaces adamantly.
Recently, an incident happened that hurt me no end. My cousin hosted a housewarming party for his new house and invited the entire extended family but didn’t inform me. Must say here, I live in Mumbai and the ‘entire extended family’ I am referring to lives in Delhi in close vicinity.
The first experience when I saw the pics in the family Watsapp group was a pang of hurt and familiar old voice in my head, “See, you are not important”. Stinging eyes, heavy chest, sunken cheeks… all followed. And then the entire rigour of I will not talk, I will leave the group etc etc
A feeble voice of the rational mind did try to say, “Well, it's pandemic you can’t travel so what’s the point of informing you?” But that plea didn’t have a chance in the surge of emotions I was going through.
I sat with it for a day many times picking the phone to leave the family group but held myself back. There must be a better, more life-serving way to deal with pain and hurt, I am sure?
My training in Mindfulness and Self-compassion, both point to the value of turning in to acknowledge and process what is true for me at the moment. I was lucky, my friend Erin Mccarthy had just sent recorded mindfulness guidance on Self-Compassion. The 8 minutes of her soulful voice guiding me through navigating my hurt was magical. It really helped. And then taking a cue from an online training I was doing with Robert Gonsalves, I processed what am I longing for. No, I am not longing for hitting back and cutting ties. I am longing for connection, inclusion, joy. I have been missing my family so much, not being able to travel. Missing the laughter, the teasing, the hugs. As I connected to the life energy of this longing, my hurt felt received and kind of quietened down. I could find the space in my heart to feel happy for my brother and the rest of my family for the time they spent together. Could turn back to the pictures and get my share of joy and inclusion.
The call I finally made was to congratulate them. The cheer in my voice authentic. Bhabhi picked the call and when we spoke, she apologised deeply for the miss. She had thought others would have informed. I could share- yes, I felt hurt and demanded a party in my honour when I am there. The chuckle back in our voice the weight lifted, I felt light.
However, the real treasure of the experience is the realisation, who I need most when I am hurt is myself. A promise went out “ Dear Self I will always be there for you” Ah! That feels good
PS: You can find the amazing guidance by Erin on Self Compassion in the YouTube channel of WeSutra. The 8 minutes can shift a lot at a time of emotional upheaval