Hurt Feelings vs. Feeling for the Hurting

Have we not all been found guilty of "getting our feelings hurt?" Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what exactly this phrase means? How on earth do feelings get hurt anyway? Feelings are not living creatures with cells that can get damaged or injured. Feelings are not alive and cannot be killed or maimed. What exactly are "feelings" anyway?

I hear people speak of having "feelings" for someone all the time. Usually they are referring to those sensations deep within us which signal emotions such as love, envy or even anger. A running comment among conservative talk show hosts last fall dealt with the statement one well known commentator said regarding the "tingling feeling" he got in his legs when hearing our current President speak.

Obviously when talking about "feelings" we must first establish what they are. The problem is that this word in the Encarta Dictionary has 10 different definitions! Eliminating the ones which are not relevant, what we are left with are; the ability to have physical sensation, something felt emotionally, affection, the ability to express emotion, impression sensed, instinctive awareness, instinctive understanding and expressive ability. Whew, that is quite a word.

When we say that our feelings got hurt, which of these definitions are we using? Logically the only one that fits is the feeling of emotion. So, what we are really saying is that our emotions got hurt, which translated into real terms means that we allowed ourselves to get emotionally hurt. What we are really talking about are emotions and not just "feelings".

God placed within us a wide range of emotions which make us human and allow us to enjoy this life. Our emotions are governed by circumstances (outwardly) as well as by hormones (inwardly). Many a man has had to deal with twisted and turned emotions in a woman suffering from PMS. Many a woman has had to handle the crushed or stirred emotions in a man in conflict with his boss or a peer. Emotions are not an easy thing to understand or handle.

If hormones are influencing emotions, a person becomes overly emotional at everything and many times the wrong emotions are manifested for the particular situation. When a man tells his wife "I love you" and proceeds to get slapped in the face; obviously something was amiss emotionally (unless the man is a liar and a cheat). If a woman tells her husband "I love you" and proceeds to get lectured about the house not being clean; obviously something is not right emotionally with the man. Having sat in counseling situations with many married couples, I can assure you these things do come up and have ruined many marriages.

To prevent emotions from damaging things and to allow them to enhance life the way God intended, here are some things to be understood and applied:

  1. Learn to be a good listener. This is essential in any and all highly charged situations where people are being influenced by anger, revenge, envy or other destructive emotions. The Bible says that "a soft answer turns away wrath" and the only way to do this is to be a very good listener. A good rule of thumb when dealing with emotional people is to spend twice as much time listening as speaking.

  2. Practice patience and never react. The biggest mistake people make in emotionally charged situations is to "snap" and react to something said or done without remembering how emotions have clouded the issue. The wise person will do whatever it takes to remain calm even in the midst of a raging emotional outburst.

  3. Learn to keep your emotions in check. Most of the time when emotions are allowed to run wild, bad things follow. Even the so called "good" emotions can cause problems if not reigned in and kept within certain boundaries. Moderation applies to emotions along with everything else.

  4. Become adept at defusing emotional time bombs. As things build up over time, they become as a time bomb ready to explode at a moment's notice. Bottled up emotions regarding anything in the past, need to be defused before they are ignited and blow up. Long simmering "feelings" many times flare up at the least opportune time and can destroy a relationship that took months or years to build in a matter of a few minutes.

  5. Don't be afraid to show your emotions. On the other side of the coin is the attitude of many people to stoically hide their emotions no matter what. Those people who refuse to express themselves and what they are feeling on the inside are usually miserable people and extremely difficult to get along with. Part of being transparent lies in the willingness to let others feel what you are feeling.

  6. Never allow emotional abuse to take place. Those who are adept at emotional abuse are every bit as wrong as those who practice physical abuse. There is no excuse for consciously and deliberately trying to hurt another person by playing on their emotions. Manipulation of emotions for self gain is a horrible sin which must be confronted and stopped.

  7. Enjoy the full array of emotions God gave us. Emotions are not an enemy, but they can be used by the enemy if allowed. Emotions are simply the conduit for allowing what is in our heart to be released into manifestation. Not being afraid or ashamed of how we feel allows us the freedom to live with ourselves and for others to know who we really are.

When we allow our "feelings" to get hurt, we are only hurting ourselves. We can throw the world's biggest "pity party", but most of the time we are the only ones who show up. It does no good to wallow in the mire of the "why me?" pity we all crave to share with everyone else. Yes, people get hurt emotionally all the time; but there is a huge difference between dealing with the effects of being harassed, abused, scandalized or publically humiliated and those of being told "nice hair" or "you pregnant?"

We all need to get thicker skin so as to not allow the little things to ruin our day or send us to the "pity party store" for supplies. At the same time, love dictates we be on the lookout for those who have been emotionally hurt and seek to help them through empathetic understanding and the compassionate outpouring of the love of God. Let us all resolve to try and waste less time on feeling sorry for ourselves and more time "feeling" for those who have genuine needs.

Linda Young @savedbyegrace ·

I speak as one who gets her feelings hurt really, really easily. My mentor was astounded once when I confided in her that God hurt my feelings and I was struggling not to feel betrayed.

Yes, feelings in our language equate to emotions, but I'll go one step further and say I think the single emotion is that we feel rejected. Either we feel rejected, personally (as in I got my feelings hurt when they excluded me from the party or as in I got my feelings hurt when my husband tuned me out and didn't listen to what I was telling him) or we feel our idea is rejected (she hurt my feelings when she didn't accept my business proposal) or our value system (as in she laughed at my words that we are to honor our husband).

And no matter how I slice it, it comes up PRIDE.

Great blog, brother, and excellent points.


Alison Stewart @kiwibird ·

Thank you b2y, another awesome blog. I was fairly 'minced up' before I came to CB and have discovered post surgery that there are a whole new set of things going on in my brain that I haven't yet figured out how to deal with. I'm a "nobody loves me, nobody wants me, I'm going down the garden to eat worms" kind of person and you are so right - the pity party is very lonely. So, I for one am going to examine and re-examine your blog in future till I 'let go and let God put me back together as he wants to, according to his grand design. Thank you again. kb

Kirk M @blessings2you ·

Oh my, I didn't think there was anyone else on earth besides my wife who knew the little rhyme ending with eating worms!!! I will have to tell her. Where did that saying come from anyway?

Praying this post provides what is needed to help. A lot of us are prone to feeling as you mentioned, it is a very common problem for sure.


K Reynolds @kreynolds ·

Oh boy. This blog is one of those I need to keep in front of my nose at all times. It's not always so much the hurt feelings if I know the person. I'm more likely to get my feelings hurt by strangers because I am able to remind myself that past experience with someone has indicated that they probably don't mean to be hurtful. I can take it with a grain of salt.

I have issues with the keeping your emotions in check and not reacting immediately. Ouch! That pinches a little too much, I fear. If I wasn't married to such a good listener who completely refuses to listen to anything I say until I "get it out of my system", things wouldn't have lasted 27 years. Fortunately he is my "voice of reason" and I can hear him when I can't hear anyone else.

Fortunately I do get it out of my system extremely quickly and then it's completely over and done with. Except for a few rare occasions it's completely forgotten as well. I'm sad to say I am like a firecracker at times...too many times. God has been patient and dealt with me about that a number of times. I think I'm finally starting to get it and eventually I may even get it right!

Sensitive feelings aren't bad in themselves as they can help us be tender and compassionate toward others as well as God. That's the way God intended them to be used. However, our problem is it is far too easy for us to misuse them. In the same way being passionate is can be a very positive thing as well...when used properly. May God give us the wisdom to use the gift of feelings/emotions in the way He intended for them to be used.

Great blog!

K :princess:

Erin Cochran @throughfaith ·

Well I just have to echo all the other comments and say "ditto" I get my feeling hurts easy too and don't always react or respond the way I should. When I talked to my pastor about it he suggested that, because I like to write, that I sit down and write out an email about everything I'm feeling and then just save it to my drafts file and then after a few days go back and read it. He said once the emotions of the situation had worn down a little then it would be safe to actually present things that needed dealt with and perhaps even be able to suggest some solutions rather than just blast at people.

That's hard to do though because I then end up not saying anything at all and I become a doormat.

You are right Grace, it does come down to pride a lot of times.


Phillip H Ruby @philruby ·

The thing my dad harped on the most when I was young was, "Do not let your emotions guide you." There have been times that I did not heed that lesson, and it has usually cost me greatly. Emotions follow a strongly held belief or an insecurity. I feel deeply for my God because of my faith in Him. I feel deep hurt when I am insecure. My dad's philosophy was that feelings should follow belief, and not the other way around. When belief follows feelings, I usually end up in the ditch.

Good points again, brother.



Thanks for your blog - good reference list of things to be understood and applied.
In analysis, I have found that "hurt feelings" are caused not only because of pride but almost always accompanied by wild imaginations about the projected situation in hand.:

Robin Argyle @hisrose ·

Ahhh........Feelings....makes me want to sing an old song...whoa, whoa whoa feelings!!!! I think that we also forget that sometimes the things we hear in our head in regards to feelings are nothing more than lies from the enemy intended to keep us from fulfilling the purpose God has for us! We will back away from someone who may have "rejected" us, or we will not be as open to share what is on our heart when the last time we spoke the word of God it fell on deaf ears, or we were ridiculed for saying something. It does indeed go back to pride, and we must remember that in order for us to be used to our fullest potential we must die to self......Dead people don't "feel". Our emotions need to come from the relationship we have with our Father, and not from the world. If we wait for the world to validate us, and vindicate us, then we will be miserable trying to serve the Lord! If we have an intimate and deep relationship with God, we will know that the world WILL reject us, the world WILL NOT understand us or validate us like our Creator will! I too have had to struggle with remembering that it is my job to have relationship with God, and intimacy with God, and out of that relationship flows the assurance that though the world may be against me, God is FOR me!! My emotions should be reserved to worship and praise Him, and not to serve to make my "Self" feel better! Excellent blog as usual!!

Daniel Reynolds @amuse ·

It is such a delicate balancing act!

For without the rollercoaster of emotions, all the human drama falls short, and relationship does not necessarily flourish, but if the dips and dives are too violent, and do not have an ultimate positive outcome-- the result is as you said a destructive force.

I'm currently engaged to the greatest woman on the face of the planet... to me anyways. And just today I had to remind myself that this morning when I texted her, "Good morning, I love you :)" and she responded with, "Go away" this was not necessarily a personal attack. I asked my mother KReynolds this afternoon over lunch why these things work so, and why this is the 'game'. Without waiting for her answer, I answered my own question, citing reasons for this behavior that honestly have nothing to do with me directly. A year ago, I would have gotten personally offended that someone would ever just wontonly treat another so, and we probably wouldn't have spoken for a day or three... leaving us both to languish apart. Today, the situation hasn't resolved itself, but I trust that it will, because I trust her, and I give grace for the circumstances that are barreling down on her head... and consequently mine.


I have always been very sensitive and easily hurt. God made us with feelings. Without them how could we show the fruit of the Spirit being produced in us? I am learning to toughen up and to just pray for those who hurt me. I also use those hurts as a mirror to see if I have been causing others to feel the very same pain. You know, do unto others... Sometimes what we give away is what we receive in return. Other times we must turn the other cheek and love those who hurt us...

Excellent blog!
Love and peace.


Seriously.. this blog was sent to me today from God. I have to ponder and pray over a message I received from someone this morning and I need to keep my emotions in check before I respond. For either I will wring their neck, or I will try to make them feel better, therefore only fanning the flame that caused them to write to me in the first place.

personally at theis moment all I want to do is walk away from them, for life would be easier for me if I did. BUT I read your blog and I will go pray again.

Do not include honorifics.

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