There are those words. Hurtful words. Unstable. Weak. Crazy. Anyone that has been called these knows what kind of pain accompanies these words.
But what are you really? It’s never okay for someone to call you these names. Ever. Even if your actions are erratic.
Those actions don’t define you. We all go through periods in which we might do things that aren’t characteristic of us. Maybe because it’s a more stressful time in our lives. Maybe you haven’t gotten as much sleep as you usually do. Maybe because you’re dealing with a lot all at once.
We might not always handle things the way we’d like to all the time.
This doesn’t mean that we abandon all responsibility, but that we take responsibility for what we did, we learn from it, and we forgive ourselves.
Assess and pause.
When you receive hurtful words, what’s your immediate reaction?
If you’re angry, let yourself be angry. If you’re hurt, allow yourself to feel it. Ask yourself what you need. Acknowledge what you’re feeling and press the pause button. When we push away our feelings, they end up arising at a later time. But if we let ourselves feel what we’re feeling, we can feel it and then ask ourselves what we can do about it; we can prevent ourselves from reacting.
The reason that I don’t use the word “overreacting” is that that word is filled with judgment--overreacting according to what is “expected”, overreacting in terms of how we’re “supposed” to react.
Remind yourself of who you are.
Write a list of qualities that you do have. Chances are that you're a good person, at least for the most part, and that you try your best. You're doing it. This thing that we call life, and it's not easy.Write a list of things that are meaningful to you. Maybe these include spending time with people and pets that you love, the outdoors, traveling, helping other people, your career, the list continues... Now soak it in.
Sit in silence and repeat one of these phrases:
“May I be peaceful. May I be happy. May I be filled with lovingkindness.”
“I am wonderful as I am. I do not need to change.”
“What was said was hurtful. I am doing ___ to take care of myself right now.”
The reason that this phrase or a version of this can be helpful is that it’s pinpointing what took place and the wording suggests that we are “doing” something proactive to take care of ourselves. We’re placing ourselves in a situation of empowerment.
Here’s a list of things you can do if you’ve had a long day:
Take a bath.
Get one of your favorite candies (if this is a trigger, skip this item)
Take a five-minute walk.
Call a friend.
Make some tea.
Color a mandala.
Fill a sheet of paper with smiley faces.
Write a friend a letter and send it.
Make a list of places that you’d love to visit.
Write down a list of celebrities you admire and why.
So what do you do to take care of yourself?