Counselor's Corner: When life hurts us


Everyone gets hurt in life. Some people may reject us. Sometimes people may not like us. Other people may not appreciate what we have done.

Then there is the world situation. We can feel hurt because politicians may totally contradict what we deeply feel and believe.

Friends can disappoint us, bosses can be disappointing. The weather certainly is not always perfect.

All these disappointments can cause us to feel hurt. How do we deal with hurt and rejection? How do we deal with the absence of support and affirmation? What happens when the world doesn’t just go in the direction we want it to go?

One answer is obvious to all of us. If I hang on to this hurt or disappointment, I will be internally miserable. The second obvious fact is this: I have no control over what other people say or do. So, with these “amazing” insights, what do I do when life hurts me?

The first fundamental principle of life is that other people do not define me. Only I can define myself by my internal thoughts and my external actions. I have a choice to engage in wallowing in my hurt or I can choose to let go of wallowing or feeling sorry for myself and choose to remain positive and upbeat.

The choice to remain positive and upbeat results from having a positive and loving attitude toward life and toward others. This choice is to consistently stay positive by not concentrating on negative attitudes or resentments. I can choose to love you even if you disappoint me. I can choose to see goodness in you even when you do something that I might react to with hurt in my heart.

Often, we can give people such power over own internal attitudes when they have long forgotten about us and may never have considered us important or helpful in their lives.

It becomes very important to have an internal balance. This balance results from being alone with our own personal self in a positive and reflective manner. Daily meditation pushes us into a deeper union with our best self and into a deeper union with God. Regular exercise helps our bodies to feel relaxed and behave in a more relaxed manner. Sharing our feelings with loving, positive and honest people brings us into a depth of connection with people that becomes life giving.

It isn’t life or other people that hurt us. It is we who hurt us. We make a decision to remain in hurt and remain what we wished could have been instead of embracing what is going on now.

We do not need an audience cheering us on to have a positive effect on the world. I have given talks all over the United States. It is great to inspire and influence people with inspiring talks and listen to people share their inspiring stories. But what happens when the talk is over and I drive home. I am left with my own life and how do I bring more love into my own life.

Bringing more love into life is the greatest antidote to negative and hurt feelings. Sitting quietly with God helps me to appreciate the better version of myself and realize the uselessness of resentments and regrets.

The power of negativity and hurt feelings becomes smashed when I am reflective and loving. No one has to change or treat me better for me to be happy. Only I have to change by a decision to be reflective with God and loving towards all. And it works. Negativity must always be smashed with the power of love which lifts me up and lifts the people around me up into a new experience of love.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is


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