What to Do When Youve Been Wronged
Editors Note:This is a guest post by Gail B of A Flourishing Life. Thanks Gail!
Ive been loved, Ive been left.
Ive been wronged by the best.
Ive had hopes that were shattered in two.
Ive heard promises spoken,
Ive had dreams left so broken,
There was no chance theyd ever come true.”
~Country singer Terri Clark
Have you ever felt like there must be a hidden conspiracy against you? Somehow people know just how to make you feel hurt, angry, insulted, let down, disappointed, abandoned, betrayed. They break up with you, fire you, leave you, or humiliate you. The bottom line: youve been wronged!
Or have you?
Granted, people do not always behave in exemplary ways. But if you feel youve been wronged, the situation deserves a closer look. Certainly, you can confront the transgressor, contemplate revenge, or hold a grudge forever. However, if your life is motivated by the quest for lasting happiness and peace, feeling wronged offers you the perfect opportunity to illuminate a mental habit or emotional windstorm that isnt serving you.
Lets face it, feeling wronged feels terrible. Most of the time, anyway. Its like a red hot fire that burns in our minds and hearts about what absolutely should not have happened. It is rigid, harsh, and often all-consuming. And maybe a little delicious? Isnt there a part of us that loves being right? Theres something eerily satisfying about cutting down the perpetrator which inflates the belief that our own world view is beyond reproach.
Holding on to a story of having been wronged by someone keeps us stuck in a dark and lonely hole – and digging ourselves out takes thoughtfulness and self-reflection. Lets dismantle what it means to feel wronged so you can reclaim the natural state of peace, ease, and freedom.
“I believe someone did something to me that they shouldnt have done.”
Resisting reality is a recipe for suffering, and one form of resistance is to believe that something that actually occurred shouldnt have. As long as you continue to hold onto this belief, you will continue to feel the fire of being wronged.
The truth is that challenging circumstances arise in life, and sometimes they involve how other people behave toward you. You may have strong feelings about the situation, you may wish it hadnt happened, you may contemplate seeking revenge; but, the reality is what happened happened.
Inquire deeply into this thought: it shouldnt have happened. How can you know? What is your evidence? How does feeding it affect you? Does it take you to happiness or suffering? You will discover that you are putting a lot of energy into believing a thought that isnt actually true and doesnt support your well being. Now you have a choice.
Consider using your precious attention to focus on supportive thoughts and penetrating questions rather than conclusions that keep you bitter and closed. Allow yourself to melt into openness and possibility.
“I am right; the other person is wrong.”
Taking a position and adhering to it vehemently is never going to lead to happiness. If you unquestionably believe that you are right, you are not open to seeing things clearly.
Our human minds love categorizing. Its one of the ways we make sense of the world. The problem with categories like right or wrong is that they constrain and oversimplify – reality rarely fits into such a neat package. So if you are not right and the other person is not wrong, what are the other options?
Try compassion and understanding. Can you have compassion for yourself for the emotions you are experiencing? Rather than thinking you are right, can you accept that you feel sad or afraid? Can you see why the other person may have behaved the way they did? Is it possible that, at some level, they were acting from fear? Can you accept that the world isnt perfect and that we arent always expressing our most virtuous selves?
Standing in the position of being right is going to keep you feeling wronged forever. Step to the side, open your mind and heart, and see things deeply as they are.
“I am a victim.”
If you believe that someone wronged you, you have identified yourself as a victim, and you are allowing your happiness to be held hostage by someone elses behavior. You are passive and disempowered.
How to get out of this hole? Take responsibility for your own healing. Find your inner courageous explorer who is larger and wiser than your vengeful victim. Look inside yourself with tenderness and honesty to see what was triggered in you.
Befriend your feelings and the inner child who is feeling them. Ask yourself what the deepest, most hurt part of you really needs and offer it wholeheartedly. Let yourself grieve in your own loving embrace.
Focus on yourself in a positive and caring way and not on continuing the hurtful drama. No longer a victim, you can get on with the business of enjoying your life.
“I feel sorry for myself.”
Shift your perspective from self-pity to self-learning. This situation that you reacted to so strongly happened, so use it well. Reflect deeply to see what initially drew you to this person and why you were so affected.
Consider if there might be a grain of truth in what was said or expressed. Is your reaction a way to avoid admitting something important to yourself? What can this situation teach you about opening your heart – to yourself, others, and the tenderness of being human?
Put aside the whole story of being wronged and victimized, then have an honest, heartfelt conversation with yourself asking what you really want your life to be about.
What to do when youve been wronged? Like a carnival ride, find your way through the twists and turns to return to yourself, to peace, to the wonder of this precious existence.
Id love to hear about your experiences with feeling wronged. Any insights youd like to share?