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Written By: DiveThru Team

Reviewed By: Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW


Feeling Hurt: A Guide to Your Emotions

PUBLISHED Dec 23rd, 2020 & UPDATED ON Jan 26th, 2023

When we feel hurt, it can obviously be a really painful experience. It can feel like a punch to the gut, or a knife in the heart (safe to say neither of those are enjoyable). We might replay what has caused us to hurt over and over again in our minds, which can make it hard to move on from this feeling. We might try to hide away and disappear off the face of the earth so that nobody will see how much we’re suffering. Instead, we bottle up this feeling inside and repress it as much as possible. Onlyyy it doesn’t help, does it? The hurt is still there, dragging us down into a deep pit of sadness until we finally address what we’re truly feeling.

It’s just like the REM song says: Everybody hurts. Nobody (we repeat: NOBODY) is immune to getting their feelings hurt! Even the people who seem confident and happy most of the time. Feeling hurt sucks, but knowing we’re not the only ones who experience this feeling kinda makes it suck less. Plus, we’re here to help you get through your hurt feelings, so stick around!

A Deeper Look at Feeling Hurt

Feeling hurt actually has a few different names. There’s psychic pain, spiritual pain, psychalgia, emotional suffering, psychological pain, algopsychalia, soul pain, or mental pain. Phew, that’s a lot! But one of the most common titles is emotional distress.

Emotional distress or pain is caused by non-physical sources. It’s not the kinda pain you feel when you stub your toe or burn your tongue when you take a sip of piping hot coffee (ouch!). Feeling hurt can be caused by other emotions that you’ve avoided dealing with including anger, sadness, shame, guilt and anxiety.

We can feel hurt when our partner forgets our birthday because it feels like they don’t care enough to remember. Or when a parent criticizes your choice of major even though you are really passionate about your education, and you want them to be proud of you. It can be hurtful when we put a lot of hours into a project at work, and your boss doesn’t show you any recognition or appreciation for all of your effort. The thing is, our hurt feelings come from hurt thoughts. It’s important to dig deeper and ask why something makes us feel hurt. Are the negative thoughts we’re having based in reality, or are we feeling hurt based on personal assumptions?

This doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t valid or that you haven’t been mistreated. If your partner forgets your birthday, they should absolutely apologize and make it up to you! But it could be that they’ve had a lot on their mind, have been dealing with stress, and they made a mistake. Take the time to recognize the difference in order to protect your heart and look after your mental wellbeing!

How Feeling Hurt Shows Up Mentally

When we feel hurt, it affects our mental wellbeing in lots of ways. Sometimes it appears as a Johnny Cash song, and sometimes it pops up as an emotion. Unfortunately, we aren’t experts on Johnny Cash, but we DO know how to talk about emotions. So, let’s talk about how the emotional hurt shows up. Here’s what you might experience mentally when you’re going through hurt:

  • Feeling overwhelmed, helpless, or hopeless
  • Feeling guilty without a reason
  • Worrying excessively
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Become hostile and irritable
  • Difficulty keeping up with daily tasks
  • Withdrawing socially

We’re going to state the obvious here and say that hurt is suuuper painful. We don’t blame you for feeling the way that you do! It’s totally normal and completely valid. Remember that!

How Feeling Hurt Shows Up Physically

Like we said, feeling hurt can actually give us physical reactions to the pain we’re experiencing. It’s not just all in our heads like we think it might be! Mental pain can easily translate to the body in a number of different ways that you might not have known about before! 

Our bodies are more sensitive than we give them credit for. They feel what happens in our mind and interpret it like it’s actually happening to our physical selves. Here’s a few signs you might notice if you’re hurting mentally:

  • Headaches
  • New, unexplained pain
  • Changes in appetite
  • Stomachache/gastrointestinal issues
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Relying on mood-altering substances like alcohol

These symptoms can also be a sign of an underlying mental health condition including anxiety or depression. If you continue to experience these symptoms, please seek professional help.

5 Ways to Cope with Feeling Hurt

Okay, so you’re hurt. It sucks a lot right now, but we know you can get through it! In fact, we have some coping strategies for you. Give ‘em a go and see how much better you’ll feel!

1. Journal

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: journaling is an underrated practice. Write down exactly how you’re feeling, even the dark and twisty thoughts you don’t wanna confront. That way, you can gain the clarity to reframe and counter those negative thoughts. Your hand might start to cramp, but we swear you’ll feel sooo much better!

2. Reach out for support

Just like the Beatles song goes: I get by with a little help from my friends! Reach out to someone you can trust and who will be there for you. You might feel inferior now, but it doesn’t mean you have to navigate it alone! Get all of those negative feelings off your chest. Having someone there to validate our feelings can be so helpful!

3. Engage in something soothing or comforting

When you’re feeling hurt, it’s safe to say you could use a little healing. Spend time with your pet by cuddling them or taking them on a walk. Touch something comforting like your fave cozy blanket. Brew some tea or your drink of choice. Do whatever makes you feel calm, safe and happy!

4. Give yourself a pep talk

It’s hard not to fixate over what is causing us to hurt. Sometimes, we gotta give ourselves a little pep talk in order to turn those negative thoughts around. Try saying some encouraging phrases to yourself out loud: I feel hurt right now but I can move on. I’ve gotten through hurt before. I’m gonna be okay. 

5. Comfort yourself like a friend

If you don’t have anyone who can be there for you at this moment, that’s okay. You can be there for yourself! Think about how you would want a loved one to comfort you in this moment. Give yourself a pat on the back, write a list of the things you like about yourself, and reflect on your accomplishments. Be the friend you need right now!

There you go! It’s hard to get past your hurt feelings, but we know you can do it. We hope this has helped you so that you can move on and feel your best again! We’re here for you, friend.

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