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How Not to Get Hurt by Other People’s Behavior (and How to Change Your Own Behavior)

Can behavior change? Must negative comments hurt? Let's find out!


Ever gotten hurt by a comment? You should definitively tell the other person that it hurt. It's a lot more powerful than yelling and screaming, or lashing out in revenge. But then what? How do you go on to feel good about yourself, instead of feeling hurt? 

And what if it's not someone else's behavior that has hurt you, but your own? How do you change bad behavior? And how do you help someone else change their behavior? It's all about realizing you have choice. And then encouraging yourself and others to make the right choice. 

That Hurtful Comment

Have you ever heard someone say something along the lines of: “He said I’m ugly, it hurt me.” Probably. Most of us have heard some story about someone who was hurt by something another person said. Probably you yourself have been hurt by something someone else have said. I know I have.

I always ask the kids I raise if they’d feel hurt if someone called them a purple alien? No? Really? Why? Because they aren’t purple aliens.

I ask the same to the kids I teach drama. Because acting is about thinking the thoughts of the character. Hence, you need to learn how we all think. What we do to our thoughts.

If someone tells you that you are ugly and it hurts, it’s because you believe you are ugly.

Curing the Thought Virus — Our Responsibility to Self

We can say that other people should be nice. That it’s their obligation to us. The truth is, most of us at some point will say something nasty. We get hurt, we feel angry, we lash out and spread the hurt. It’s like a virus.

Yet, there is a really easy cure: your own thoughts.

You have a responsibility towards yourself to make up your own self-image: what you think about yourself. You have a responsibility towards yourself to love yourself. Not because you’re perfect. You never will be. But because you’re a human being doing your best.

You may have been through things, that have created behaviors in you that are less than desirable. You’re gonna have to fight those to feel good about yourself.

The funny thing is, the more you love yourself, the easier it’s going to be to make the right decision. To act in a manner that serves you and others.

Rethinking Life

Imagine this scenario: a kid who loves to play tennis and daydreams about becoming a tennis pro, is told by his coach that he’s a lousy player and will never be a pro. The kid walks off, feeling hurt — he sees a future where he is not able to play tennis and therefore will be miserable. He hates his coach for inflicting the pain and he hates himself as he can’t do what he wants to do.

Let’s assume the coach is right — this kid really has no chance at becoming a pro. After years of practice he can barely hit the ball.

Now, let’s rethink this. After the coach tells the boy he can’t play pro tennis, as he’s awful at playing tennis, the boy asks him if he can still play tennis? The coach says yes. Every day? Yes. He can play every day.

Then the boy asks the coach if he thinks there are other things in life the boy is good at? Yes. Will he find something else he loves that will pay his bills too? Yes.

The boy walks off thinking he can play tennis every day of his life, which is something he loves, he is good at many things and he can get a job doing what he loves. He just need to go on a detective journey to figure out what that is.

The Love Delusion

Now, let’s imagine another scenario. You’ve been dumped.

Your ex told you that they just don’t like x, y, z about you. Then they left you.

You can feel really bad about the things they don’t like about you. You can also feel really bad at imagining the future you will never have with your ex.

On the flip side of the coin, you could assess whether you need to do something about x, y, z, or your ex has painted a picture that isn’t true because of their own inner processing, or x, y, z simply doesn’t matter. I.e. someone else wouldn’t care about x, y, z - in fact those could be the very things they’d love about you, because they’d be compatible with them. Either way, is there a need to feel bad about it? If you need to improve, improve. You can still love yourself for doing your best.

Secondly, you could imagine that you will lead a wonderful life with a person that’s a perfect match for you. Someone who will love you and support you and help you become the best you can be, instead of bringing you down for the things you’re struggling with.

You could imagine that your boyfriend dumping you is the very thing you needed to finally learn what you need to learn to find true love. The very event that will change your life for the better. You could imagine lots of different things. It’s up to you.

People think that love hurts. Love doesn’t hurt. The lack of love hurts. Loving someone and losing them hurts. But you can always fill your life with more love.

Life is filled with goodbyes. No matter what you do, you’ll experience that. You can choose to become bitter about it. Or you can choose to accept life for what it is and make the most of it.

People get married thinking nothing will ever change. Things change. Marriage is a beautiful ritual where you can make a commitment to treat someone with love. To do your best to serve their soul. To both do your utmost to create a wonderful relationship. That doesn’t mean things won’t change and you’ll never fall out of love. That doesn’t mean the other person isn’t flawed and won’t make mistakes. No one can control life. No one is flawless. Nor does anyone worth their salt ever stop growing; changing. All you can do is your best to treat each other with as much love as humanly possible and make the best of your relationship.

Often people have beliefs about how something should be. And when it doesn’t pan out that way, they feel hurt.


Sufficient to say that if punishment was all that was needed to turn crooks into law obedient creatures, then all prisons would have a 100% success rate in rehabilitating their prisoners.

Punishment can be scary. Uncomfortable. It can also lead to realizations about doing wrong, which in turn leads to promises of doing better. It can give a person the satisfaction of feeling like they’ve repented, which then makes them feel like they have the right to go out and enjoy themselves and break their patterns of hating themselves and doing bad to prove themselves right.

I raise a kid with behavioral problems. He comes from a township in South Africa and was practically born into a drug den. He’s been abused, frightened, felt abandoned…the list goes on. It all came out in his behavior.

We all react differently to negative circumstances. Some become violent, some withdrawn, some hide their pain with substance abuse, some become angry and try to take revenge, some back away from it all and choose to lead a different life. But to lead that different life, you have to know it exists.

Most people can’t stop themselves from eating another piece of chocolate, but they expect a person who grew up in the midst of a gang war to control their violent behavior. Their defense mechanisms. Their mistrust in people. They expect them to respect a society they grew up in the fringes of and probably never felt supported by.

Are these people bad? Or do they have as much good and bad inside as anyone else?

From the outside, it makes little sense when people make dysfunctional decisions. How many times have you watched a friend hurt themselves? How many times have you observed someone thinking things that clearly do not serve them? But on the inside, it appears to them as if they have no options. They don’t see the other path.

Changing Your Thinking and Behavior

Rewarding good behavior, giving as little attention as possible to bad behavior, and setting clear boundaries about what’s expected, as well as having some consequences when it’s not met, appears to work really well.

People often want to change their dietary habits by beating themselves up about their current ones. So over and over again they think about their poor choices, how unhealthy they are and how they hate themselves for it. Then they expect their behavior to change.

If you want to change your behavior, you have to set clear intentions for what’s expected. You have to pat yourself on the back every time you make the right choice. When you make a wrong one, you have to stop thinking about it straight away and get back to thinking about what you’re expected to do. You get right back into thinking about your intentions. To repent you can also do an extra round on the treadmill. And when you make progress, you celebrate. You feel good about yourself. You get rewards.

As humans, we have to learn how to control our own behavior. That’s not an easy feat if we were programmed into thinking and therefore acting, in certain ways. Not least if you think punishment is all it’ll take for you to change. But then, why haven’t you? Surely you’ve been punished for every bad decision you ever made already? There are consequences to behavior. As parents, we teach that to our children. In the real world, it teaches us.

Likely you also punished yourself by thinking negatively about yourself. So why haven’t you changed?

You Have the Power

It may not be easy to change thinking patterns, but it sure is possible. You’ll know when you’re walking down the right path, because you will feel it. However, it usually helps to have someone to show you that path. Show you the different ways there are to see situations. Personally, I have a coach. Recently, I got a nanny. Raising kids by yourself is not easy.

I’ve changed. My kid has changed. But I trip up and so does he. Change can happen in a moment, but certain things take time. Most of us don’t even think about the things we’re thinking about. Suddenly we catch ourselves feeling down, or having made a stupid decision because we thought things we weren’t even aware of, or used the wrong thought patterns to reach a conclusion. A decision.

What you think is reality, isn’t real. Your thoughts are what’s making it real to you. A dog sees the world completely different from you because they have a different sensory perception. Another human will see the world differently from you because they have different thought processing.

When you are surrounded by people who try to put your down, or are moping about life, or are otherwise not a positive influence, it takes a strong conviction that you are OK, that life can be beautiful and that there are beautiful people our there, not to be run down by the other people. That conviction, or those thoughts, mean you can go unscathed through a crowd of miserable people.

Life is filled with good and bad. You choose what to focus on. 

Maria Montgomery is a writer, director and producer. You can connect with her on LinkedIn


Related Articles

It's really hot outside right now - and sometimes the question is, what are we going to do now to offer the kids something despite the heat? We have some tips for you, maybe you can use them with your little ones.

Water fun in the pool

We have a pool in the garden, but it is not very big, about 3 meters in diameter, in our eyes absolutely sufficient for a fun or quiet cooling. Surely you can not swim in it, but in order to "dive" for an object, or "water dances" or just to relax, it is definitely enough.

One should not forget that also in the water to the sun protection must be thought. That means, as in the outdoor swimming pool: do not forget to apply creams. In the best case, the pool is in the shade or is protected by a larger parasol. Ours is in the sun - we hold the children in strong heat and sun to regular water breaks, so that they can then stay in the shade. Sometimes they do not see it directly, but with some persuasion and an ice cream or drinking break, it works.

Water fun without pool

If you're hoping for a big jackpot, you also need to know that it can only be broken with the highest stakes. Only when you risk a high stakes, you can even with a direct hit the jackpot free games Super Hot Fruits. This also applies to progressive jackpots. Depending on how much money you have, you can choose according to the machine to budget.

Not everyone is in possession of a pool, has no garden or simply lacks the money for the purchase. Alternatively - as with us earlier - a small pool of water or an old bathtub can be set up and filled or even just a bucket of water, where it quickly sets the fun, namely, if you use small syringes and injected each other wet.


Or fills bombs and plays catching, at some point they are sure to break and depending on how cold the water is, in some the screaming is certainly great.

Do you have gradients on the property? Then try a waterslide. A tarpaulin is laid out, at best a slightly longer one, filling a bucket of water and sliding down with or without a butt-end slide. Or build a shower or a sprinkler, where you can also refresh yourself wonderfully. However, this is more likely if you can take the water from a well or rainwater collection tank. Tap water is too expensive.

To eat and drink

You should always encourage the children to drink. Of course, they only do it when they are thirsty, and then it is already too late. There is then already a lack of fluid in the body. For example, 10-year-olds should drink around 1.2 liters a day. In case of heat, sports or illness this need increases. Outdoors, the glasses or cups should always be capped, as there is a risk that bees or wasps will fly in. The safest are lockable plastic water bottles.

Our favorite drinks are:

  • water diluted with water
  • Springs of any kind
  • sometimes cold tea (fruit tea, slightly sweetened)
  • water

To eat at noon in such a heat often nothing hot, but rather fruit, pudding and cold dishes, cereals with fruit, yogurt, milk and other things, which falls into our hands.

What you can do with children when it's really hot

Summer is finally here, and that's right! In the meantime, if it's too hot outside for you, we have collected a lot of ideas for "cool" activities with big and small children - whether at home or on vacation.

If the outside temperature is more than 30 degrees Celsius and the sun is burning, you should do the same to the inhabitants of southern countries: stay inside during the day. Unfortunately, it is rarely as pleasantly cool in Central European apartments as in a Moroccan riad or Spanish patio.

Our hot-tip game tip: Turn on the fan and spray each other with a water atomizer - the wind adds a great deal of "glorious cool" factor and the spray is so fine that the floor does not get really wet (and slippery).

Funny for smaller children are also soap bubbles, tissue paper snippets or light cloths that can fly in the vortex of the fan; the elderly may try to keep folded aircraft in the air with the help of the fan.


Summer Idea Number one: bathing, splashing and swimming

On the beach and the sea you have to do without - or at least wait until it finally goes on vacation? Well, it would be too hot for your little ones anyway.

Even on the smallest balcony fits a wash basin for prattling. With watering can, pots and scooping tools, little children are busy for hours. And if it is too hot even there, just sit in the bathtub with your child.


Tip for shower-only users: An inflatable paddling pool can be squeezed into the lowest bath.


Do you have a yard or garden, where the temperatures are reasonably bearable, then you can declare this area to the water playground (a meadow in the park is of course also). A garden hose with spray attachment, a few water guns from the toy store (which should be sold out, Amazon often provides the very next day) and self-filled depth charges are the basic equipment for a day full of "Aqua Fun".

Your imagination knows no bounds: homemade glitter-glibber , bodypainting with finger paints or ice cube massage - you'll probably find more "cool stuff".


On the way in the city it gets really unbearable on hot days - the children sweat and nölen, playgrounds lie in the sun and on the slide one burns up the A ... In many cities public fountains offer a splendid refreshment.


Experience report thoroughly before you let your offspring climb into these facilities:

How is the soil under water - overgrown with slippery algae, sharp-edged or with tripping hazards?

What is the water quality? (if it is not drinking water, infants should not bathe here)

How strong are the fountains, is there a risk of injury or are the facilities even endangered by playing children? (You have the duty of supervision! If your children break something while you are supervising them, the liability insurance does not cover the damage.)

Are there signs or prohibitions for the use of the fountain? Where many tourists are traveling, bathing children are often not so welcome.

Is the fountain in the shade? When playing in the sun, while they are pleasantly wet, children do not notice the heat and get a quick sunburn or sunstroke.


For reasons you should not let your kids play naked in such actions; instead of a bathing suit or bikini, T-shirts and shorts get better, which you then exchange for dry ones. After all, you use the fountain quite by accident and not specifically as an outdoor pool, right?


By the way, much cooler than bathing lakes are brooks - if you come to one (in the city area many small watercourses are unfortunately completely embedded in concrete or laid underground), then enjoy the ice-cold foot bath.


If you really want to take a good bath, the early morning hours or the time just before the closing time are ideal for a visit to the outdoor pool. If you jump into the pool first, you will enjoy cool temperatures, more space and shade on the sunbathing lawn; the soil is not yet so heated and the ozone pollution of the air is still low.

After work or a kindergarten visit you are best left with a visit to the outdoor pool, even if you really want to swim. At 6 pm, most of the outdoor guests are slowly packing up, the area is empty and you can enjoy the water until the end.

Tip: pack a light picnic and have dinner in the bathroom. Then you can put your clean, well-fed and well-made children directly to bed at home.


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