Hurt Feelings

Emotions—we love the glad, excited, and loving ones. But the hurt, angry, and suspicious ones cause us trouble. Or do they? Are hurt feelings the source of our angst? Can unpleasant emotions become our friends?

God gave us emotions. Feelings really are assets—even unpleasant ones. Without physical pain we’d scald our skin and permanently damage ourselves. Without emotional pain we’d stay in unhealthy habits and relationships.

Our hearts become calloused if we don’t protect them. Other wounds make us over-sensitive. Like sunburned skin, we recoil from innocent interactions. A woman who was cheated on in one relationship may conclude her current boyfriend—who deletes his texts and emails—is cheating too. Her emotions have alerted her that something is going on. They have reminded her of her past, but they don’t know the future. Her boyfriend may be planning a surprise party.

Emotions should be listened to, but they must be tempered with wisdom and love. Feelings are great messengers but horrible managers. This week I witnessed the apt and inapt use of unpleasant emotions.

  • A bitter letter did not solve the writer’s concern and possibly alienated her neighbors.
  • Anger prompted a woman to productively consider the best way to address a policy she believes is wrong.
  • Another person’s disappointment motivated her to face an unpleasant issue. Facing it protects her from future resentment. Tactfully sharing her wounded heart, instead of a lecture, provides an opportunity for deeper closeness and understanding.
  • My dread over contacting someone reminded me of this person’s negative pattern of relating. You approach a soccer field and a field of land mines differently.

What are you dreading? What’s made you angry or hurt? Listen to the message of your emotions. Ask yourself:

  • What are my emotions telling me?
  • Does this remind me of an old injury?
  • Do I need an attitude adjustment?
  • How can I benefit from this message?

Processing our feelings protects us from lashing out and alienating others. Processing helps us identify the real problem and work on a solution. When we don’t recognize the pressure we’re under, we pass it on to others. When we don’t separate our previous injuries from our present situations, we over react. When we ignore our emotions we erupt or implode unexpectedly.

Your emotions are your friends if you use them as God intended. Unpleasant ones warn us against potential threats to what we value—including our peace of mind, energy, freedom, dreams, or relationships. Use them to live wisely.

Question: How do you view unpleasant emotions?

Click here to comment.


Debbie Wilson

Deborah W. Wilson

Photo by: Paul De Los Reyes

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  1. Ann

    “Your emotions are your friends if you use them as God intended.” That is SO true! He gave us emotions so obviously they are not bad in and of themselves. We can definitely use our emotions to get to the root of issues – because honestly how we react today has its roots in something that may have happened years ago that triggers the same response in us. Unless we become aware of it, we will continue to react the same way and not understand why! Every experience we have ever had is sealed in our hearts and we interpret every other similar one by that original experience. Intentionally seeing if you can recognize why the thing that happened today reminded you of something from the past is a great way to unravel these emotional triggers. Great post, as always, Deb.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, you’re so right. If we don’t identify the triggers, we continue to let the same things push our buttons. Love hearing from you.

  2. Marianne


    Yes, negative emotions signal something is wrong. I usually pray about my negative emotions and ask God to reveal the truth behind them. Sometimes I’m totally surprised by what He reveals, but once I know the root issue is revealed, God will empower me heal and deal.

    Have a Victorious Day!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Marianne, I’ve been surprised too at what God has revealed. He is the perfect person to go to with our hurt feelings. Thanks for sharing.

  3. stephanie sudano

    i absolutely love this blog. a wonderful reminder of how to deal with emotions and what they are useful for. i learned all of this in one of the studies at Lighthouse and am so thankful.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Stephanie, I love our times together in Bible study. God’s Word is so practical!

  4. Sandy Conklyn

    Dear Debbie, As always I learn from and appreciate your thoughts. Thank you! This one was timely since my hairdresser and I were recently discussing asking our doctors about getting off /cutting back on antidepressant medication. We both felt that our reactions to “stuff” are a big part of who we are and not necessarily a reason to be medicated for years. Talking with a trusted friend about hurt feelings so often does the trick without the side effects. I know this does not apply to everyone!! It didn’t to me either, twenty years ago. But, thank you God for insight, understanding of my pain then, patience and love for the little kid within and the loving support support of others. So far, so good.
    Love you,

    • Debbie Wilson

      Sandy, thanks so much for sharing these thoughts. I especially like “We both felt that our reactions to “stuff” are a big part of who we are and not necessarily a reason to be medicated for years.” I agree. Sometimes we do need help managing them, but we don’t want to lose them. Love you!

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