These are things that people have said to me. My response at the time was to sink into those feelings of hurt first. Secondly, I did some reactionary eating. My defiance took the form of “I’ll show you that I can live my life any way I damn well please.” But it wasn’t compassionate and it didn’t take the form of acknowledging who I am as a person as opposed to what I look like.
The reaction of feeling hurt, defiant, and depressed is so natural to most of us that it almost seems hard-wired into our DNA. It’s important to explore some different ways of reacting and responding to hurtful comments.
In all instances, the goal is to find a new response to these comments. First, we want to look behind the comment to the person and situation it’s coming from. Is the comment more about the person speaking than it is about us? Second, we want to look inside to consider why that comment stings and how much of it do we own. Third, we want to neutralize our reaction to it. If there is an element of truth to the comment, we can acknowledge that without getting angry.
The most important part of the third step is not to judge ourselves as bad people even if we acknowledge that some part of the comment is true about our physical body or human habits. No matter the comment, there’s always time to give a compassionate response rather than an angry or sarcastic one. Any time we can meet aggression with love, we are healing places within ourselves.