how to forget hurtful words
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How can I forget hurtful words?

1. Live in the present.

Life is too short even just to cherish your good memories. Do not constantly revisit the past and relive old nightmares.

2. Filter the hurtful words

Filter the hurtful words to determine if it is constructive criticism based on sound reasoning, or simply negative words with a blade attached. Shred toxic comments and toss them from your mind. Take the valid points and throw out all the extra negative words.

3. Try not to see painful words all in black and white.

You might question whether you did something wrong to deserve those words – otherwise, why would anyone say such things. But sometimes, it can be all about the other person. An insensible person’s conversation manner can raise brows on a good day. On top of foul manners, some people carry insecurities and self-hatred that come across as lashing out at someone. It has nothing to do with you, but so many things are wrong with the other person.

4. Try to look past the role or title and see the person behind the hurtful words.

Let’s say your mother said something hurtful and it is hard to accept, let alone forgive – then think of her as a woman. No matter what title we are wearing, we all have to deal with our own demons. And not everyone fights gracefully. Your mother might never have had her fair chance to fulfill her own dreams, or enjoy her life as much as she might have wished. Or she might have experienced countless failures. If you could forgive her it would definitely lighten your pain, but if that is too difficult, consider why she couldn’t cuddle you with her damaged heart, inflicting her own wounds onto you. She needs your pity and forgiveness. Do not let wounded people pull you into their darkness. If you can afford it, pull them into your light.

Do not let wounded people pull you into their darkness. If you can afford it, pull them into your light.

– Balance in Wonderland –
How to forget hurtful words and self-heal

We all know that no one can be everyone’s cup of tea, but in reality, it can be a hard truth to accept about ourselves. In our head, we might ask Why not? I’m always kind and gentle to everyone around me. There is no way anyone could have reasons to hate me. 

Oh, but there are always reasons for one person to not like another – just don’t expect the reasons to be logical or reasonable. 

It can be something as simple as being unable to stand the slurping sound that the guy at the next table keeps making in the restaurant, without knowing he is being unlikable at that moment.

So no one can be a dazzling darling for everyone. When someone has negative feelings towards you, but instead of keeping it to themselves they choose to spatter it in your face, then what do you do? Are you going to let those words cut you like blades and poison your soul?

When it comes to forgetting hurtful words, as corny as it might sound, the story of Snow White is the best example to live by.

Snow White was beautiful and kind, with no harmful thoughts toward others. But what happened to her? The stepmother who thinks her beauty is her most valuable feature is threatened by her. I have not read very many versions of the story, but if it were not a children’s story it is easy to picture the stepmother snarking at Snow White that she should lose weight, or her complexion is ghostly. 

But even after our Snow White flees into the forest, she never seems to grow a grudge toward her stepmother. She moves on with her life, adjusting to life with the dwarves and making the best of it. Although it sucks that she eventually bites that apple – maybe a bit of grudge might have kept Snow White alert. You’d think that after the attack with the comb, she should have at least learned a thing or two about stranger danger. (Sorry, it is one of the more frustrating stories to read to my children – that she was so clueless she eventually had to be saved by a prince. She could have saved herself many times if she hadn’t wandered around half awake.) But my point is, in the end, Snow White won. And even the stepmother’s hatred could never draw a dark cloud over her mood. At least she had the strength to tune out others’ hatred and live in the present.

People can say horrible things when they are living their own worst nightmares.

So, let’s put Snow White’s story behind us for now and explore some tips I suggested earlier, for a better understanding of how to cope when someone hurts us with words. 

How to cope when someone hurts us with words

1. Anyone who spits out hurtful words is living in their own misery

When people feel great and happy, they naturally want to compliment others and give back to others, although there are always exceptions. Think about when you fall in love. This Mr. Charming whispers to you that you are the most beautiful and amazing person in the world. Do you feel like saying something nasty to anyone? 

On the other hand, when you are in hell, nothing positive comes out of your mouth, and you cannot think about the consequences of your words damaging the people around you.

It’s like Miranda in Sex and the City – when Carrie was engaged and happy with Mr. Big, Miranda’s words to him might not have been wise. Telling a skittish groom that marriage ruins everything has the predictable effect of scaring off Mr. Big, who runs away on the day of the wedding. Miranda, who had just found out her husband had cheated on her and plans to divorce him, is unable to share in Carrie and Mr. Big’s happiness. Her words were just a reflection of her own situation in the spur of the moment.

People can say horrible things when they are living their own worst nightmares.

2. Know that an unkind person does not deserve a second thought

If someone uses hurtful words, they might be intentionally trying to provoke the feelings you are going through now. Do not give them the satisfaction of your wounded feelings. 

Shrug it off and move on. Let them know their words will not affect you. We welcome constructive criticism for our development, but we refuse to accept unjustified blame or negative criticism that is unhelpful.

3. Now you know you are not that person’s cup of tea, and you have the power to decide how close you will let that person be in your life

But what happens if that person is very close to you, like a family member? There are many ways to maintain our family relationships. If direct communication always ends with you getting hurt by someone’s words, choose a different way to maintain contact while keeping a healthy distance.

There are many families that connect more tightly when they are physically farther away. We usually cannot feel the importance of air because it is always there, and we don’t notice it until we cannot breathe. 

There are generally two kinds of relationships. The majority of them are spread wide and shallow, and only a small percentage are close and deep. In many ways, it seems as though we get more hurt by words from the wide and shallow group. They know us a little – just well enough to feel relatable to you. They are the ones that will feel more jealous of your first new Honda than a Youtuber’s third Lamborghini. They feel let down by your first pregnancy, but they do not feel jealous of that mother of triplets at Costco.

4. You might have something the other person desires, or you might feel a lack

Not all people praise and compliment your good traits and success – many criticize. But on the other hand, you might have insecurity in particular areas, so when anyone pokes at that part of you, you don’t just flinch, you bleed. 

When you feel attacked by words and someone’s comments have stung you, ask yourself whether it is because of something that you accomplished that the other person could not, or it is from your own insecurity. If it is the latter, resolve to work on that area so it does not scar you so deeply, because sooner or later you will get hurt by the same words from someone else. If it is just a matter of someone being jealous of your accomplishment, pat yourself on the back with a smile and enjoy your day.

5. Think of whoever you admire the most, or anyone that has touched many lives in a positive way. Guess what? That person has had more than enough haters

Going back to the earlier notion that no one can be everyone’s cup of tea, we all have enemies and no one can win everyone’s heart. Look at celebrities basking in stardom, showered with money and attention – sadly, a storm of hatred comes with it. 

6. Don’t let hurtful words pull you down, because that person who wounded you is smirking, while you are suffering

Why are you suffering from ignorant words that someone threw at you insensibly? Even if that person intended to give you advice, there are many ways to word it without stabbing your heart. 

But remember, while you might lay on your bed awake as those words linger in your head, losing sleep and damaging your productivity and mood the next day, the person who hurt you will not even give your feelings a second thought – she’ll be enjoying her movie night. 

Focus on the present, not the past. Even if those words still hurt you now, just remember that it’s already in the past. Try to shake off the pain. If your mind wanders back to that word, try something to awaken you from that thought. 

Snap an elastic rubber band on your wrist. The wristband anxiety treatment helps people get out of an anxious state, but anyone could benefit from this tactic to snap out of a negative train of thought.

7. Reply, if that makes you feel better – or do not react if you do not have to

If you are the type of person who will beat yourself up later, saying “Why didn’t I say anything?” then say something – just not from the bottom of your anger. There are many ways you can express your discomfort such as, “Wow, that stung,” or, “Woah, that’s a bit intense, don’t you think?” or, “Hmm, I never heard that about me from anyone before, except you. I wonder why.” Letting the other person know that their words came across with thorns attached is perfectly okay, and it could serve as a much-needed splash of water on their face – and possibly even help them reflect on themselves.

If the offending comment is too worthless to even give one second of your attention, just give them a shrug and change the subject. Or if it is hard to move on and you’re feeling a bit naughty, you might say, “Are you talking about me? Or you?”

8. Thrive – do not give anyone the power to control you

“Did you gain weight, or is it the dress?”

“Why did you cut your hair? Long hair suits you better.”

“I would never go out with Mark if I were you.”

“Guys cheat when their girls neglect them. You didn’t see this coming, when you took that project?”

“I thought you were announcing your pregnancy too early. Look at you now. You have to let them know you miscarried.”

Do not let these kinds of comments dictate your life. These are worthless words that do not deserve your energy and emotion. 

Do not frown in front of the mirror, afraid to wear your favourite dress. 

Do not tug on your hair, wondering how long it will take to grow back, or keep comparing old and new pictures and asking yourself if maybe long hair was better after all. 

Do not look at your new boyfriend through someone else’s lens speculating whether you made a mistake or saw something in him that isn’t really there. 

Do not blame yourself for your husband’s infidelity, because no matter what, cheating is not a logical solution for dissatisfaction in a relationship. 

Do not regret that you shared the happy news with your loved ones as soon as possible. You’re the one most saddened by the loss. If they cannot take your desperate news and are unable to comfort you, they do not deserve to share your love and happiness.

Please, do not let thorny words puncture your emotional wall. Chin up and stand high. Trash words do not deserve to touch you in any aspect of your life.

9. Organize painful words

Sometimes constructive criticism hurts you when your feelings are vulnerable. Examine those hurtful words and decide whether or not the criticism is reasonable or not. Reorganize them in your head.

If there is some helpful advice, keep only that part to improve yourself, and throw out the painful tone and adjectives attached to it. Shred them completely and get them out of your head.

How? Imagine the words spoken to you referring instead to the person who directed them at you. She is unhappy about her own haircut, not yours. She will blame herself if her husband cheats on her, not you.

10. Do not blame or doubt yourself when poisonous words sting you

You got hurt not because you are weak or those hurtful words are true. You got hurt because that person’s meanness hit you when you were down. 

If you notice you get easily wounded by others’ words, it is time to reflect on your self-esteem. Our mental strength also needs to be nurtured and exercised. Read a resonating self-help book and reconnect with people around you who know you truly and love you deeply. Remind yourself that you are a pretty awesome person surrounded by people who care about you unconditionally.

When we swim into bigger water, we meet more fish. Some might swim with us in the same school, but some might want to swallow us whole. To grow and to be happy, we have to be brave. No doubt waves will come and hit us hard, but keep swimming and fight off that pain. One day you will look back on all your good memories and even chuckle at those painful ones that tried to swallow you. 

Heal your anxiety and strengthen your self-esteem. Treat your wounded heart, whether through counselling, daily meditation, or journaling. You are not everyone’s cup of tea, but you are enough people’s oxygen, and they cannot breathe without you.

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