Dealing With Hurts 

Author's Note: This post is in response to a request made by a dear one who wanted to know how to deal with hurts and humiliation of others. I think, we all have this question. Although I'm not a self-help expert, I'll try to find out a way to deal with them, and if possible, will enquire if it's at all possible to be completely free of all hurt.

Be patient and go along with me. 

We all have many hurts in our hearts. We live with them everyday. Maybe somebody told us something or did something to us…and those words or behaviour hurt us. I’m sure, in all of our hearts, there will be innumerable hurts which we are not able to wipe out. They give us pain…we want to be free of them, but somehow we can’t let them go. This is our reality, right? 

Now, we have to understand the nature of hurt. What is hurt? 

The Nature of Hurt

Isn’t hurt a reaction to a feeling? Somebody tells us something which we don’t like and there is a psychological reaction to it. Anger, frustration, hatred, jealousy are all reactions to an unpleasant feeling, isn’t it? Whenever we are hurt, it’s a reaction to a feeling. When somebody, especially our close ones, says something that makes us feel bad, as a reaction to it, we get hurt. That feeling and the consequent reaction to it generate hurt, which then may give rise to anger, hatred, jealousy, frustration or simply bad mouth. So, there are two things involved: first, the feeling, and then the reaction to that feeling. 

Now, we have to go deeper. We have to ask ourselves: why are we hurt? This is the whole question that we have to understand. But let’s first understand, what are the different types of hurt we experience. 

Three Types of Hurt 

We are hurt on three levels: physical, emotional and on the level of ego. Let’s try to understand them one by one. 

I. Physical Hurt: When somebody hurts us physically, there is physical pain. But we are not talking about this type of hurt, are we? We are concerned about the psychological hurt, which is invisible, unlike physical hurts, but probably as tangible or more tangible than physical ones. 

II. Emotional Hurt: What we call as psychological hurt is actually emotional hurt. This is the hurt we all generally refer to. When somebody hurts our emotions, that is, when our expectations get a blow, we get emotionally hurt. 

Let’s take an example. You’ve just lost a dear one. How do you feel? There is no physical pain in your body, you are not physically hurt. But the loss of that person creates emotional pain within you. Now, you are emotionally hurt. Now nobody is responsible here. You are hurt by yourself.

Let’s take another example. Your partner cheated on you, or let’s say, you are experiencing a break-up. It hurts tremendously, isn’t it? It hurts because you were attached to that person, you had a lot of expectations from that person. 

But, do you get emotionally hurt by a stranger, whom you don’t know? If a stranger behaves badly with you, do you get emotionally hurt? You may hold grudge against that person, may even (in your thoughts) want to kill him, but do you get emotionally hurt? No. We don’t get emotionally hurt in the case of a stranger. We are only hurt emotionally if we are emotionally attached to someone. So, here is a realisation for you:

You can only be hurt emotionally if you’re attached to someone emotionally. The more you are attached, the greater the degree of hurt will be. 

Now, let’s discuss the third type of hurt. 

III. Hurt of Ego: People can hurt our ego also. When somebody disrespects us, humiliates us, hampers our dignity, our prestige, our ego gets hurt. If your ego is hurt, it simply means, you have given importance to yourself, you value yourself too much, you are attached to your identities, your false sense of self. 

As long as to you give importance to your self, your ego will keep getting hurt, and you will keep hurting others… because you know, Newton’s Law: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. 

So, having ego is harmful for all of us. All of us suffer. Still, if you hold on to your ego tightly, you are a menace to humanity. 

Now, I know, my dear friend didn’t ask me about physical or egoistic hurts. She was only referring to those hurts which are caused by others, i.e, about emotional hurts. When she asked me the question, she was only thinking about those situations when somebody says bad to us, or behave badly with us…how to deal with them? And most of us mean only this. I just wanted to stretch your eyes a little bit. 

I can give away the easy pill right away. And I can promise, it’ll work. But, I am interested in understanding the whole nature and structure of hurt, what is involved in it. If you aren’t interested to go that far, here is the solution: 

Do not take anything personally! 

That’s all. 

If you can do this, it’s enough. Then read no more. But, if you want to understand everything about it, then go along with me. 

Now, going at the center of it.

Why Are We Hurt? 

This may seem a silly question to you. You would day, that’s obvious, because of the other person! No, why are YOU hurt?

The other person said what he said, did what he did—that’s his doing. I am asking, why are you hurt? Do you understand the question? What is it that gets hurt? Words, behaviour are external stimuli, but within you, what is it that gets hurt? Or, in other words, who is this ‘you’ that gets hurt? Understand that entity who says ‘I’m hurt’. Who is that ‘I’?

This is the real inquiry. This ‘I’ is made up of identities which we always hold on to. Or you can say, we have images about ourselves, and we are identified with those images. Because we are identified, if any image gets hurt, we get hurt. Because we think we are that! We think we are that image! This is the crux of the whole problem. 

Take this example. You are a pretty woman. Everybody admires your beauty. So, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll give much significance to your beauty, you’ll be much concerned and conscious about it. You are identified with you body. Now it’s very easy to hurt you. If in a party everybody ignores you, don’t give you that much attention that you expect, you’ll start to feel hurt. No one needs to behave badly with you or say bad words to you, but you’ll feel hurt, won’t you? 

Once we are identified with our images, we’ll inevitably be hurt. You see, we have built images around us. This image-making is the reason why we get hurt. Images will inevitably get hurt because they are false. We are scared if we lose our image, aren’t we? So, we constantly try to keep them intact. The more we try to justify them, the more is the possibility of clashes. And images will inevitably clash—your image will clash with my image. So, we are bound to be hurt! Are you seeing this clearly? The tragedy is, we are heavily identified with these images. So, whenever our images get hurt, we get hurt.

Summing Up

Be aware of your images. Don’t be identified with any image. Know yourself. Why do you need any image about yourself? It’s understandable if you build images about others because we don’t know others fully. But why are you doing the same thing with yourself? You must know yourself. If you knew yourself, would you need any image? We have images only because we don’t know ourselves. Self-knowledge is the end of all problems. Know thyself! 

Thank you.

Image Credit: shutterstock.