I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
- Robert McCloskey
Have you ever been caught off guard by something a friend said to you, only to realize later on that the comment hurt your feelings? Or does this only happen in my world?
Not surprisingly, I've been offended by a friend or two over my lifetime. But more often than not, it's not until after the fact I realize what was said hurt me. I guess it takes a while for the sting set in. You see, the more I'm involved in other people's lives and them in mine, the more comfortable the relationship becomes and there's more of a chance that one of us will be offended.
How do you get over a comment that hurts?
I've come to understand I take a lot of things personally. Maybe a friend is talking about someone else or something else entirely. But if I identify with a portion of whatever it is, then I think their words are against me too. What the friend was talking about was never meant to be a personal slam on me but in some indirect way, it is.
I should say something at that time, I know. It could be that I am afraid if I confront the person then they won't like me anymore. I am human, often insecure and want people to like me. The truth is: I need to stand up for myself, sometimes even to friends. This person is my friend for a reason and they wouldn't intentionally say things to hurt me.
I've questioned the benefit of confronting the friend after (a day, a week, a month, or even a year) and telling them what they said hurt. Frequently, I realize I just want to correct them and my motive is to make sure they know they hurt me, not to strengthen the relationship.
What do I do then? That's where forgiveness comes in! I ask God to help me forgive and forget without bringing a laundry list of grievances. I let the comment go.
It's sounds simple, but trust me, it's a lot harder than it sounds. And what I've learned from this: I'm more sensitive than I care to admit and I need a thicker skin. Stepping away from a conversation is helpful and it's then I discover I may have taken something the wrong way.
So...that's what I've been thinking about lately.