Recently, a friend did not invite me to a milestone birthday party…
No matter what age we are, we all sometimes feel hurt from an issue in our friendships. Sometimes it is a little hurt and sometimes it is a big hurt. It is never fun, and sometimes it can really throw our day for a loop. But I find hurt feelings an opportunity to grow and learn about our relationships and ourselves. If we just run away from a hurtful situation by feeling too scared or afraid to investigate what this relationship means to us, then we lose out on an opportunity to evaluate if this is a relationship worth saving and fighting for, or letting go. I also think it is important to do some self-reflection to determine if I played any role in the dynamic causing the hurt feelings and stay open to a conversation where I may need to take responsibility.
I am not upset about not getting to attend her party, but the lack of invitation left me with a rock in my stomach. I needed to figure out why I was so upset and hurt. I no longer saw this friend very often and knew our friendship had evolved over the years as I got married, had kids and moved to the suburbs. All the while, she continued to live in town and have a very successful career. I always felt like we were connected and would still occasionally get together. We had actually been in touch trying to get together before all of this happened.
So why did it hit me so hard that she didn’t invite me? I have lots of wonderful, generous, kind and devoted friends in my life. I also realized I am not invited to all kinds of things that don’t hurt my feelings, so why did this hurt so much? Why did the lack of this one invite hit me so hard? I had to step back. I know in my head that it is not worth getting so upset about, but we can’t always control our emotions, and right then, my heart was hurting. After spending a day feeling quite hurt and sad, I took some time to self-reflect and think.
After spending the day allowing myself to wallow in my hurt and sadness, I realized that I now had the space to think and reflect on my feelings. I was able to learn and grow from the situation. What I realized is that I was upset because not being invited triggered a feeling I have struggled with since middle school – which is, “I am not cool enough.” Not cool enough for who or what, I don’t know. But I felt I was not cool enough for her party. So I began my next healing phase. After dealing with these kinds of big emotions and having spent some time thinking and working it through, it is important to get to a place to let it go. I sent my friend love and goodness to the universe. While I don’t know where my friendship with her is going for now, I don’t think she will be able to hurt my feelings again like that. I have a new perspective and hardiness in my heart to know that I was cool enough for her all those years and I am still cool enough for her now. If she does not know that, I will not let that reflect how I feel about myself.
Once I realized the source of my hurt and was able to let it go I reflected on the fact that I have too many wonderful people in my life to feel this irrational negativity for more than a day. The funny thing is, once I let it go, I did get a last minute invite in my email. But the invite was a little too late; I had plans to be away with my parents and couldn’t go anyway. I was still grateful for the experience to reflect on my feelings and reactions and to reevaluate what this friendship meant in my life. I also shared this experience and healing process with my daughters. Not every friendship is for a lifetime, but I don’t want to hold on to anger when someone hurts me. I like to forgive them and move on. That is what I have been doing for the last 30 years. Loving fiercely those in my life that I adore and letting go of the friendships that hurt me or do not serve me. Severing those ties frees us up to let in more love and friendship that we do want.
That is how I survive hurt feelings. I hope you find a way to survive them in a positive way too.