A Helpful Practice When Dealing With Hurtful Words




I’ve spent quite a bit of my adult life sifting through old wounds. As hurtful words from the past have bubbled up, I have found helpful steps to work through them:

  1. Pause (breathe in)

  2. Think about what was said

  3. Ask myself

  4. Are those words true about me?

  5. Do I to choose to believe what has been said to or about me?

  6. Breathe out

More recently, I have been reminded of these steps, as more painful conversations have come up. I’ve found these comments hang over me like sandpaper up against a rotting log. I want to shake them off, but they stubbornly hold on, sowing seeds of doubt and uncertainty. I realize the words are probably not meant to be disingenuous, but coming from those I respect, admire, and love, they hurt deeply.

So, here I go.

  1. I pause and write down or say out loud what has been said to me. (Deep inhaled breaths)

  2. I think about what was said.

  3. Who is saying this to me?

  4. Could there be any truth to what they said?

  5. Why do they bother me so much?

  6. What do these words say about those making the comments?

  7. Am I going to choose to believe these comments and allow them to dictate my decisions? Am I going to allow them to frustrate, hinder, or discourage me?

  8. Say, “I choose blessing and peace over you ______.” (Exhale deeply)


As I think through these steps, I can see clearly that these comments are more of a reflection of those who have said the words. They have nothing to do with me, so I will take Taylor Swift’s advice and “shake it off,” knowing that as I address them one by one, discern their truthfulness, and as a result, uncover the lies they communicate to me, I can replace them with the truth I know about myself.


If you are finding yourself in this place, I hope these steps are helpful for you as you seek to find healing.