Before Thanksgiving, a client of mine, let’s call him Tim, was feeling stressed about having to see his male cousin for the annual family dinner. The cousin--whose physique, I’m told, resembles that of Channing Tatum in Magic Mike--thinks it's funny to punch Tim's "jelly belly" (cousin's choice of words) and make jokes about Tim never having seen the inside of a gym.
When others embarrass us, we feel hurt and angry. We want to react in defense, even put the offender in his place, but we usually feel too humiliated to do anything other than stay silent and pretend not to notice.
Of course, such behavior is aggravating, but it feels awful to stew about it. Maybe it’s better to remember that those who call attention to flaws in others are acting out their own insecurities.
It's also possible that the cousin was actually concerned about Tim’s health. Maybe, maybe not. Either way, Tim could be missing an opportunity to think more constructively. What if he saw the slight as an opportunity to open up a real conversation?
That’s precisely what happened: this time, after the predictable belly punch, Tim gave his cousin a bear hug, and said, “Thank you for caring about me!” After turning 50 shades of red, the cousin began reminiscing about the many childhood experiences the two of them had shared, and invited Tim to work out with him. They’ve been doing so regularly ever since.
Next time you feel insulted by someone’s comment, reach for a constructive thought, act on it, and see what happens.
You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/store
Click here to get your free Memory Spa Audio: www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com
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