Can humor be an antidote to hurt?
SHARADA NATARAJAN explores various ways of responding to feeling hurt and angry over an incident with a close family member, and shares with us how she learnt to keep harmony and love in such situations.
How do you react when someone dear to you hurts you? My earlier immediate response was a momentary paralysis of my ability to understand what went wrong, and then a sudden bout of anger towards whomever caused that hurt.
When I allowed myself to be angered by the ‘hurt’, then I would find myself engulfed by two powerful negative emotions – hurt and anger. So I have been exploring how I can handle this with no damage to the relationship between the other person and myself.
The first and foremost step is to avoid that sudden bout of anger that joins with the hurt to precipitate the issue, and instead concentrate on how to handle the hurt from the level of hurt alone. I have discovered that handling hurt is easier with a little wisdom, a little thoughtfulness, and a lot of understanding and compassion.
The most common form of hurt that bothers us seems to be caused by the words and actions of the people we love, who play a significant role in our lives. Most of us inadvertently depend on our loved ones to make our lives happier and more secure.
Let me explain how I faced this type of hurt recently, how I was able to respond to the situation, and how I emerged a happier, friendlier person in the end, with no trace of the hurt to spoil the love we had.
The other day I sent a WhatsApp message to a member of our family – a close one at that – conveying the news of an important event that called for celebration. She is very dear to my heart and I expected her to feel equally happy and feel the same way, but the message she sent back was as though the news had no significance to her. I had expected her to be in sync with my mood of fulfilment and joy, and respond with equal gusto, so I was naturally disappointed, sad and deeply hurt.
I decided to meditate and let things cool down.
When I came out of meditation,
my mind was enveloped in a beautiful serenity of its own.
In that clarity, I found new vistas
opening up to accommodate
a wider range of perspectives,
so my mind was able to review different options
to bring harmony and move forward.
I could not immediately organize my thoughts and decide how to handle the situation, so, as I am learning to do when confronted with some negativity, I decided to meditate and let things cool down. When I came out of meditation, my mind was enveloped in a beautiful serenity of its own. In that clarity, I found new vistas opening up to accommodate a wider range of perspectives, so my mind was able to review different options to bring harmony and move forward with the issue at hand:
The first idea was to just ignore… but I knew that the residual hurt would stay embedded in me and eventually form an impression, which may not augur well for the otherwise beautiful relationship we have. So I ruled that out.
The question of forgiving did not arise since no deliberate insult would have been intended on her part. She may not have even meant it. It might have been just the way she felt at that moment. So I let that go.
Perhaps I could communicate my hurt to her, but then it would amount to begging her to sync with my mood. She may not like that, and she may try to convince me by faking enthusiasm. So I ruled that out.
Why not convert the whole issue into one of absolute insignificance and respond to her with humor? The sanctioning authority in me said, “This is the spirit, go ahead.”
So I wrote back chiding her with a fake anger that was not there, coupled with a few fun emojis. That spirit paid off. She felt sorry for her reaction and attributed it to her mood at the time. All ended well. What started on a depressing note ended with laughter and celebration.
If I had reacted with hurt and anger, she might have reacted in the same manner and things would have gone really sour. But instead a sense of humor acted as an antidote to hurt and anger.
Article by SHARADA NATARAJAN
October 02, 2017
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