Of all the difficult emotions we experience in life, one of the ones I seem to deal with the most has been the feeling of rejection and hurt. As a child, I recall the sting I felt when I’d done something wrong and received a spanking as punishment—and the worst pain I felt wasn’t to my backside. It was more what I seemed to feel in my heart. Many times I didn’t fully understand what I’d done wrong and, at once, I felt hurt, saddened, and unloved. I’d cry, run to my room, then pout and stomp around for awhile—usually until I became distracted by something else and eventually forgot I was upset.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced similar feelings, in varying degrees, at one time or another. At older ages, we experience many of these same feelings too—perhaps when we’ve been turned down for a date, passed over for a promotion or job, or when we feel neglected or betrayed by our partner or spouse. In some of the more extreme cases, it may feel as if someone has “kicked us in the gut” or even “ripped out our heart”, but most often the circumstances simply leave a dull, hollow ache that seems to sit like a dense, heavy weight in the center of one’s chest.
Whenever we feel resentment or hurt, it’s quite easy to surrender to the accompanying anger and frustration. If we’re unable to deal with these overwhelming emotions in a positive way, we may lash out blindly or allow ourselves to spiral into despair. Sometimes, when we try to express ourselves and the way we feel, especially when we’re older, others expect us to hide our feelings or “just get over it”. Unfortunately, if we just ignore these emotions—especially if we keep experiencing many of the same hurts over and over, the stress we feel just seems to accumulate and become worse over time.
In recent years, I’ve found that, as I work through these challenging episodes, their impact seems less and the process of healing gradually becomes easier. While this process may not be the same for everyone, I’ve found the following steps to be generally quite helpful.
First, as soon as I begin to feel the “heat” of intense emotions rising, I make every effort to stay as calm and detached from them as possible. I try to imagine myself as a boat on the open sea, allowing the waves of adrenaline and distress to pass beneath me. Then I close my eyes and take several deep breaths as I envision the waves slowly dissipating. I consciously relax my body and mentally “let go” of any intensely charged emotions. These first brief moments often provide me with the space I need to remain calm and respond to the situation in a more balanced way. They also help to ensure that I don’t over-react and make things even worse.
Second, I try to take a moment to process things. If the situation is particularly stressful, I may separate myself entirely for a few minutes. I may go to a quiet room and sit down or take a brief walk to connect with nature. In either case, this brief period of separation allows me time to collect myself and gather my thoughts.
Next, I begin the healing process. If I’m feeling unloved and empty inside, it helps to close my eyes and try to feel love for myself. I envision the dark, empty space in my heart being filled with the golden Light of Universal Love, flowing and swirling in endlessly from Source. Sometimes I imagine my Higher Self as a being of pure, Divine Light, wrapping its arms around me in a warm, loving hug. If I’ve been rejected and have feelings of love that I’m somehow unable to otherwise express to someone else, I share that love with my Higher Self instead. This usually helps me to feel much better—for I know that I don’t need someone else’s love to heal me. I can always find the Love I need inside myself.
Once I’ve taken steps to settle down, I make every effort to face and address my emotions and the situation head-on. It helps to know that I don’t have to take on the challenge alone—for I may always seek guidance and support from family, friends, or other trusted sources. I try to look at the situation as an important lesson in living and accept it—just as it is. I know I don’t have to dwell on it if I choose not to, and I decide how much attention and energy I’ll devote to reacting to or resolving it. Once I make that decision, I take whatever actions I feel are necessary to work things through. If I find that some things are beyond my control and I can’t fully resolve them, I simply do the best I can. Once I release any attachment to a specific outcome, I mentally “let go” of any remaining emotional stress (for more on that process, please see my post “Spirit Anchors”). This allows me to move on confidently in the knowledge that I’ve done my very best.
Finally, I’ve found that, in many cases, it helps to just “sleep on it”. A good night’s rest often helps me put things in perspective and allows me to find fresh, new ways to approach challenges that I might have otherwise overlooked. I also find that it’s much easier for me to find forgiveness—not only for others, but myself, in the dawn of a new day.
So if you’re ever feeling abandoned, empty, or unloved as I sometimes do, consider trying some of these ways to work things through. And always remember that someone does love you unconditionally. God loves you—and I most certainly do too!
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