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Imagine your child runs up to you.  They’re bleeding from an unfortunate umbrella as a parachute off of the roof accident.  You take to action and give him two aspirin.  Good parenting right?  No?  Oh, that’s right, a blood thinner to someone that is bleeding doesn’t help.  In fact, it hurts.

The same is true for emotional pain.  At best, someone might say to you, “That hurt my feelings.”  Your response is probably your go to reply, “Sorry about that.  That sucks.  You’ll be stronger for it.  You should read this book.  I’ve had the same thing happen to me.  Well, what are you going to do?”…or things like that.

What is a hurt?  If something hurt your feelings, what did it do?  A hurt is an emotional need that is not met or taken from you.  Thus, instead of saying, “That hurt my feelings.”  You can instead say, “When you did x,y,z it really took away my (insert emotional need here).

What are these needs?  Ten of the most prominent ones are:

Acceptance: Receiving another person willingly and unconditionally, even when the other’s behavior has been imperfect.  Loving another in spite of differences or failures. (Romans 15:7)

Affection: Expressing care and closeness through physical touch; saying “I love you” or “I care about you.” (Romans 16:16; Mark 10:16)

Appreciation: Expressing thanks, praise or commendation. Recognizing accomplishment or effort particularly for what someone does. (Colossians 3:15b; 1 Corinthians 11:2)

Belonging: Building up or affirming another particularly for who they are; affirming both the fact of, and the importance of a relationship. (Ephesians 4:29; Mark 1:11)

Attention: Conveying appropriate interest, concern, and care; taking thought of another; entering another’s world. (1 Corinthians 12:25)

Comfort: Responding to a hurting person with words, feelings, and touch; to hurt with and for another’s grief or pain. (Romans 12:15b; Matthew 5:4; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; John 11:35)

Encouragement: Urging another to persist and persevere toward a goal; stimulating toward love and good deeds, particularly when someone is weary. (I Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24)

Respect: Valuing and regarding one another highly; treating one another as important; honoring one another. (Romans 12:10)

Security (Peace): Ensuring harmony in relationships even as conflicts are resolved, trust is deepened and vulnerability is expressed; providing freedom from fear or threat of harm. (Romans 12:16, 18)

Support: Coming alongside and gently helping with a problem or struggle; providing appropriate assistance.(Gal 6:2)

Now, remember that the BEST you get from most people (including yourself) is someone saying, “That hurt my feelings.”  We are not aware of what feeling (emotional need) was impacted.  Further, THEY are probably not aware either.

That’s why I am so passionate about emotional needs.  No one teaches it.  I hesitate to say that but as I ponder it, the reality is, outside of a counseling session (from a very wise therapist) it doesn’t happen.  Thus, we are left hurt and alone.  We are frustrated with the inability to apologize correctly and amend our wrongs.

As this website transforms in the coming weeks we will be looking at this from many different angles.  There will be conversations and real life examples of how emotional needs impact our lives.  I hope you’ll join us.


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