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Dealing with emotional wounds

Huzaima Bukhari

Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest selfKaren Salmansohn

Apropos to The unintentional wound a USA based friend suggested on providing readers with advice on dealing with emotional wounds. He wrote: “The article should tell readers to not feel hurt by insensitive words, which obviously don’t cause a bodily injury, but maybe a mental anguish, which is often temporary. To avoid being hurt, people must learn to know themselves a whole lot and have no unrealistic or undetermined or low self-concept, nor must they have a low emotional intelligence. They should practice to process or control their feelings as they themselves are responsible for their own feelings, good or bad. No person can dictate other person’s feelings.”

A few interesting examples would create the right setting to understand how we do get hurt. Really obese persons are laughed at or are subjected to curt remarks and jokes because of their physical appearance. Obviously, no one likes to be a laughing stock and such acts are bound to injure anyone’s sentiments. Another scenario can be where people are intentionally or inadvertently ignored that may cause them to resent the person and harbor bitterness. Then there are relationships that get broken up, scarring emotions that can be life-threatening sometimes. Rejection for a prospective employment, especially in case where candidates consider themselves most deserving can render a dent on one’s self-esteem. An insulting remark, an offensive look, a perk response, deliberately ignoring one’s presence, catching your best friend back-biting about you and so many similar incidents are likely to cause, what we commonly refer to as heart-breaks, a condition in which the heart temporarily weakens, causing its main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, to balloon out and pump improperly.

During such an event, we usually end up holding our chests experiencing some pain there but in reality this is explained by the activation of the vagus nerve that starts in the brain stem and connects to the neck, chest and abdomen. When this nerve is overstimulated, it has the ability to produce pain and nausea. However, Ethan Kross, an American psychologist says that there is not much compelling evidence for this explanation but nonetheless some credence can be given as in majority of the subjects, the feeling is same i.e. uneasiness in the thorax region.

There are many useful guidelines provided by learned psychologists in combatting these kinds of emotional stresses but before touching upon them, it is imperative that people should first take a look within their own selves. One must take out some time and examine one’s own positive and negative traits, one’s own peculiar characteristics and the way we are quick to pass judgements about others we should also try to judge ourselves within our own reflections. Perhaps we are actually plump or ultra slim, irritable by nature or congenial, friendly or reserved, talkative or quiet, thus we must recognize our virtues and vices to understand who we truly are and once we have reached that stage then any onslaught of remarks, curt comments and hurtful attitude would not bear any negative effect. As explained by my good friend: “Words do hurt those who don’t know much about themselves, have an unrealistic or undetermined or low self-concept and/or have a low emotional intelligence, or cannot process their own feelings.”

The best way to enhance one’s self-esteem is to take control over one’s power of thoughts and beliefs. Sometimes, certain situations can seem unnerving causing one to lose self-confidence and that is when one should ponder about them silently reviewing them with the aim of identifying facts and fiction in order to rationalize and hold a more objective perspective. This can ease out the intensity of one’s own emotions while giving one sufficient time to restore one’s dwindling morale.

Of course this is not at all easy because most of the time we tend to believe whatever comes to our mind first irrespective of whether the thought is positive or negative even though we can discern between right and wrong. This is when one needs to keep repeating the negatives to weigh them continuously until these become insignificant. Once we have determined things that deflate our self-esteem, we can find ways to frustrate them and rediscover our own potential. This would definitely help in boosting our self-confidence, increase our value in our own eyes, making us less vulnerable to being injured by acridity we may encounter.

In the end one can wind up by a few sincere words of advice. For improving one’s dignity one should be kind to oneself, not compare oneself with others as we each have our own identity; spend some active time for rejuvenation of the body; remember we are all not as perfect as we would like to believe yet we have to tackle our own imperfections and learn from our mistakes; instead of trying to change the world it is better to change things that are within our own limits.

We must find those undertakings that make us really happy and which we enjoy to the fullest and in the meantime try to relish the minutest moments whether it is having simple meals or reading a book or even taking a nap. Help out a friend or even a stranger and in return the reaction of gratitude is a sure shot mood booster besides improving opinion about ourselves; and lastly, having a company whose approach is positive would certainly be the best one can vouch for to improve our self-worth.

Life is short for which one should be well armoured emotionally to counter all the negativity that life may offer and pay heed to these words of Golda Meir: “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement”.


The writer, lawyer and author, is an Adjunct Faculty at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), member Advisory Board and Senior Visiting Fellow of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE)

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