When you’re ‘afraid of hurting someone’s feelings’, whose feelings are you really afraid of hurting?

I was reminded today on two occasions of how it’s always our own feelings that we are trying to protect when we are trying not to offend others.

A client was describing how they were feeling guilty over not inviting a friend to a group dinner. If we were to look deeper and ask what was going on at a deeper level, we may have discovered that she was afraid of what that person may have thought or said when she told them they were not invited – in which case we’re talking about a fear of some sort.

According to some theories, there are 4 core fears a human being experiences: the fear of loss / fear of rejection / fear of feeling our feelings and fear of feeling vulnerable.

Often in this type of scenario the fear is around rejection and / or vulnerability.

So, really, we are afraid of our own feelings being hurt! Fascinating… the tables turn completely.

A colleague of mine made a similar comment to me today which reconfirmed this theory after I mentioned I did not want to offend her:

“The mention of not wanting to hurt other people’s feelings registered with me in the same way.  Once again, I found that if I looked honestly, part of my Truth is that it’s actually I myself who doesn’t want to have my feelings hurt, or be thrust into one of the four fears, by saying something to someone which might cause them to think less of me or react/respond unfavourably to me.  This is not knocking the certainly-desirable label of “being considerate” (within which wording is a pivotally crucial part, to my mind), but rather trying to see the fullness of my Truthful motivation”.  

Thanks for reminding me! Bang on!

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