3 Tips for Staying Intentional When You’ve Been Hurt | Shadow Work
Let’s play a game! Put 10 fingers up.
Put a finger down if someone’s ever hurt you or made you feel unsafe.
Put a finger down if you’ve ever been surprised or embarrassed by how you reacted when someone hurt you.
Put a finger down if you’ve ever been gaslit, or made to think you are crazy over reasonable requests or boundaries.
Put a finger down if you ever stopping talking to someone you cared about because you didn’t know how to approach a tense situation.
Put a finger down if someone who was close to you has ever hurt you in a deep and unexpected way.
Put a finger down if you ever decided to confront someone over a tense situation, and it turned out horribly.
Put a finger down if you have ever misjudged someone’s words or actions, and thought that they were trying to hurt you when they didn’t actually intend anything.
Put a finger down if you ever unintentionally hurt someone and didn’t know how to navigate what comes next.
Put a finger down if you wish you had better tools to navigate conflict resolution.
AND Put a finger down if you wish you had better skills for staying intentional, and present even in situations where you feel unsafe.
Ok, I have hardly any fingers left, so I decided to write this blog in hopes that we could navigate this tough, but oh so common human experience together.
1. You Can Ignore Them. We call this “ghosting” on the internet. 👻
There is so much pressure in our modern society to respond and communicate immediately. Don’t let any preconceived ideas, societal confines, or invisible pressure keep you from being in balance with yourself. If you need a moment, a day, a week, a month, or longer to process something, TAKE THAT TIME TO DO IT.
You don’t owe anyone a response, and no one is entitled to your energy. Sometimes “ignoring” or waiting to respond is the best way you can protect yourself while you are healing from the initial blow of the hurt. Sometimes we get too caught up in the energy, emotion, and momentum of the hurt. You get too caught up to think rationally.
Eventually, you will find a way to respond. Or you won’t. It’s better to act intentionally than to act in a way that might make you feel even worse. Sometimes people hurt you, just so they can get a response out of you. If you are in a relationship where this type of thing is a common occurrence, this is especially true. Don’t give the other person the satisfaction of disrupting your energy.
2. Confront Them.
After you have recollected yourself, you can confront the person who hurt you. If you decide that this is the best way to respond and that it will protect your healing and balance, proceed with intention.
Keep in mind this one question: “What do I really want out of this conversation.” Asking yourself this little question frequently can help you navigate big emotions without getting carried away in the momentum of what could possibly be a heated exchange.
All too often we avoid conflict altogether, even though it does not protect our balance, because as children and young people we never had our guardians and caretakers model good conflict resolutions to us. If confrontation would protect your balance, this small tool will help you navigate hard topics and conversations while keeping your mind in check. If you haven’t had good conflict resolution modeled to you, navigating conflict can feel unsafe. You might be combatting anxiety or even full-on panic at the idea of conflict and confrontation. It can feel out of control, and like you are so caught up in your emotions that you can’t find the words to use to effectively get your point across.
Understanding WHY you have made the big decision to engage in a hard conversation is just as important as having the conversation. Keep yourself intentional during the conversation with deep breaths, pauses, and remind yourself what you want out of this confrontation.
3. Write a Letter.
Are you being gaslit by this hurt? Are you responsible for this hurt? Did this hurt come out of nowhere? Were there warning signs, and previous behavior that you may have overlooked because of your closeness to the person who hurt you? Is this person just an atomic jerk?
These questions are hard to know for certain when your emotions are running high. One of the best ways to get your thoughts and emotions out of your body and into something that makes more sense is to draft a letter. You can physically write this letter, or you can digitally produce it.
Take all the time, energy, and words you need to really get your thoughts out about this other person, and maybe even about yourself, and how you feel about the whole situation.
This exercise helps you consolidate your thoughts and big emotions, and sometimes it can be a very healing process. The best part is after you write this letter, you never have to actually give the letter to the person who hurt you! You can use this as a personal intentional exercise, or to organize your thoughts and reference if you decide to engage in a conversation.
Overall Protect Your Balance.
Processing hurt is different for every person. We’ve all been through so much, and so many different experiences. The most important thing to do is to give yourself grace through life, and especially when you are triggered or hurt. People don’t just “get hurt” for no reason. Someone either did something wrong to you, or they triggered a deep pain from a past experience that made you feel unsafe.
If you lash out, or are unable to be intentional in the moment, do not feel bad or judge yourself. Humans after all always acting in a way that keeps them safe. (That includes you! You are a human too, one who is just as worthy of respect and compassion as anyone else!) Maybe in the moment, the best way you can keep yourself safe is to react, instead of sitting and acting intentionally. And that deep response is something that you should honor.
My goal is to always be more intentional and to teach people ways of being and reflection that increase their ability to be more intentional. That being said, this is a journey, not a destination.
“The mark of [the] warrior is not that they never fall, but their intent is to stand up again and again, and to keep fighting for what is higher.”~Victor Sanchez, “The Toltec Oracle”
You’re never going to wake up one day and be the best person. You have to keep reaching to be better and better.
You will fail in life. Somewhere down the road, you will react again in a way that you are not proud of. That’s the point of being intentional. As humans, we are all imperfect. But the mark of a true warrior, and a beautiful human in my book, is someone who knows they will fail, but time and time again works to make themselves better.
The good thing is, life presents us many opportunities for growth and change. If you don’t like the way you reacted, or you feel like you could have done better, just wait! There will be more opportunities in the future for you to grow, and every experience is just a new gift that we can use to learn and grow as a person. Rest assured that you are always looking out for yourself, and you are always acting in a way that makes you feel safe. If you’re keeping yourself safe, how can you be angry with yourself?
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Meet Bri 4-Wind
She is a passionate healer, educator, spiritworker, and minister, on the path of truth-seeking and knowing. She is the mother to 4 living children, with one somewhere in the great unknown.
She is on a mission to study Midwifery and to provide competent and caring maternity care services that honor the life, essence, spirit, and body of mothers and birth givers in her community.
She spends a lot of time educating and supporting the community in her Facebook Group. And enjoys helping people move through life with intention and passion.
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