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Not Your Typical Relationship Advice

Sep 11, 2008
Are you having trouble understanding why someone in your life says upsetting things to you? Why would they want to hurt you like that? Would you believe that it is really them and has absolutely nothing to do with you? Once you come to terms with this idea you can irrevocably free yourself of the anxiety and frustration that comes when you think you are being harmed by other peoples words or actions.

Feeling Insulted?

it is tricky not to get offended when someone says something hurtful to you. We all want to get defensive and might go right back at them with something even more cutting. However, when you understand what causes the other person to act that way, you will actually come to understand that it has little or nothing to do with you! It is strange to think that you are one-half of an conversation with another person, and yet the painful words they blurt out may have less than nothing to do with you but it's positively true.

That Person Has Serious Issues!

Have you ever noticed when you talk to a friend about the distasteful things your boy/girlfriend, husband/wife, mother/father... just said to you, they reply with, Well, it sounds like they must have problems they need to deal with. Actually, that's true! it's difficult to believe, though, because we all think that the world rotates around us, that everything said has to have something to do with us. That person's got to want to offend me in some way, otherwise he would never have said that to me, right?

Actually, it's very important for us to step back and realize that it isn't all about us all the time. If you eliminate yourself from the situation and see it from the other persons point of reference, you can see that your boy/girlfriend, cousin, sister/brother... does in fact have troubles they are attempting to work out. The words they say are meant to speak to one of two issues: (1) a desire to meet their needs, or (2) in support of something that they value. Even though in the moment these words are challenging to hear in those terms, we all are likely to talk this way and say things that are trying to meet one or both of those criteria.

When we understand that their words are meant to meet their needs or support their values, it is much easier to react lightly to what others say to us. We all tend to get offended when something is said that seems hurtful, but if we remind ourselves of the reasons they said those things in the first place, we can see that it really has nothing to do with us at all. This relieves stress and creates a better environment to move on with things without feeling hurt.

For instance, you have just left work to drive home after learning that you got a big raise. You are incredibly excited and you call your very best friend to tell them the good news. As you tell them the news, you realize they are not as happy for you as you had hope. that's a lot of hours to work. You are going to be so exhausted everyday. I'll be surprised if you can make it six months in your new position. Wow, now that was yucky!

Why doesn't your friend seem please for you? Why would they say something so unfriendly to you? If you discovered that they had been passed up for a promotion the day before, would that change the way you react? What if your friend told you that they were worried your new promotion would cut into the time you spend together? When you think of all the reasons that your friend could have said these things, you realize that in fact none of them are because of you.

As you take this all in, you discover that reacting emotionally and letting the discomfort overwhelm you will not help the situation at all. When you step back and put yourself in the other persons shoes, you can begin to see that getting upset will only make things worse.

How Might Mother Theresa React?

Imagine one of the most selfless people in the entire world, Mother Theresa. What if someone came up to her and said, I don't think you're that great. Look at all the people that support you to do what you do. I think you're overestimated. its challenging to imagine Mother Theresa getting irritated and frustrated over a comment like this. (In fact, it's hard to imagine anyone having the nerve to say that to her, but let us imagine just for the sake of argument.)

Many people might reply to a comment like that by saying, What have you done in your life? You've got a lot of nerve talking to me like that, you're pitiful!
However, it's hard to believe Mother Theresa replying in that way. But why is this? Does she know something that others do not?

Well, yes. Mother Theresa recognizes how to let go of the resentment and the hurt that can come from misinterpreting comments like that. She recognizes that the reason behind such remarks come as from a persons desire to satisfy their needs and to help support the things they value. In this situation the person probably feels very disappointed with what they've accomplished and needs some encouragement. Looking for flaws in others is a common strategy to feel better about oneself--a approach that never works very well or for very long.


it's challenging to fight off the feelings of hurt and resentment, but when you learn to step back and think about the situation from a different perspective you will be relieved at how upset -free your life can be. When you stop fixating on what others are saying to you and realize that they are simply attempting to deal with their own issues, you are much better off. In turn, you open yourself up to a authentic compassion for yourself and the people around you.

So next time you notice yourself getting upset by the words of another, stop and tell yourself it's not about you. Experience the true compassion that comes from walking in the other person's moccasins. Ask yourself: "what might be going on for me that could cause me to say or do that." Then let yourself relax knowing that it's not about you and that we're all just attempting to meet our needs and support the things we value.
About the Author
Did you discover new ways to be instead of offended? If you liked this article, check out the other relationship advice we have to offer by signing up for our free, thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series at: http://www.NewAgeSelfHelp.com

Each tip offers practical advice for creating the relationships that you really want.

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