We are social creatures – we need to love and feel loved and share pleasant, meaningful interaction. Especially at Christmas. We hope that our Christmas will be a time of giving and spending time together sharing memories and making new ones.
Sadly this isn’t always how it turns out. Christmas can heighten and highlight cracks in our relationships.
Here is a quick rundown of tips and actions that will help you deal with hurtful words over Christmas.
You can’t control what others say but you can evaluate what was said:
- Was it sparked by envy about something you have or have achieved? A backhanded compliment. Can you put it in a more positive context?
- Was there some truth in it? Is it highlighting an area you need to work on?
- Was the speaker going through a difficult situation outside of Christmas? If so, take a deep breath and let it go. Proverbs 19:11 states, “A person with good sense is patient, and it is to his credit that he overlooks an offence.” [GW] We’ve all said things we regret when we’re dealing with ‘stuff’ and we hope that others will overlook them.
- Is the speaker generally negative? Some people just are like that. The best way to handle this, is to accept that’s who they are and pray for them.
Action steps for overcoming hurtful words:
It’s OK to cherry pick the steps that are most useful
- The most effective action step is to consciously decide to let it go, bless the person and move on. Yes, it’s difficult, but it is possible. It’s like they say – all you can control is your reaction to situations. Think of it as a gift to yourself, setting you free from someone else’s negativity.
- Write down how you feel in your journal. Putting words on paper clarifies your thoughts and brings insights. Plus, you can plan what to say if you decide to speak to the person about what was said. Read more here.
- Discuss the situation with someone you trust. Another person’s input often reframes events, giving you objectivity, reassurance and affirmation.
- Write a letter to the person who spoke the hurtful words – pour out how you felt when they said them and how you feel now. Let it all out. When you’ve finished, don’t read it, either tear it up and flush it down the lavatory or burn it. Don’t send it!!
- Forgive forgiving others is one of the best gifts you give yourself. Remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to go back to the same situation – you can set boundaries or make adjustments. Sometimes, you need to ask God to bless someone and then let them go out of your life.
- Ask God to help you overcome the pain, anger, feelings of rejection etc then believe that He will.