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Do not ignore the emotional wounds you sustain in daily life. Do not believe that ignoring emotional pain is a sign of strength. Do not believe that feeling emotional pain is a sign of weakness or psychological frailty. Do not believe that being in touch with your feelings, knowing you hurt, and wishing you didn’t diminishes you in any way.

Do not think of yourself as weak when you experience the pain of rejection. Do not consider yourself undesirable when you know the ache of loneliness. Do not punish yourself when you carry the burden of guilt. Do not lose faith in yourself when you encounter the bitter disappointment of failure. Do not lose yourself in the anguish of loss. Do not become crushed within the churning of brooding and rumination. Do not belittle yourself further when your self-esteem is already under assault.

Know that what makes you human is your capacity to feel emotional pain. Know that what makes you wise is your capacity to recognize you are not weak. Know that what makes you strong is your ability to recover from emotional wounds and to become more resilient by doing so. Know that such wisdom, like all wisdom, must be learned and can be learned.

Know that your brain is wired to experience rejection as physical pain, and that there are ways to ease that pain and revive your self-worth in its aftermath.

Know that loneliness is a trap of self-protective but self-defeating behaviors that can push others away, but that it is one from which you can escape.

Know that you can elicit authentic forgiveness from others, as well as from yourself, and that once you do, your burden of guilt will lift.

Know that failure will cause you to perceive yourself and your goals in distorted ways, and that you must ignore these ‘gut’ feelings and focus on the many factors that are in your control.

Know that loss can devastate your life but that eventually finding meaning in your experience will give you a renewed and powerful sense of purpose and life satisfaction.

Know that brooding and ruminating is an emotional hamster wheel that only deepens your anger and sadness and that stepping out of the wheel by refusing to repeatedly pursue the same painful thought is the only way to free yourself from it.

Know that your self-esteem is the emotional immune system that protects you from life stresses, and that indulging negative self-talk when it is low will only weaken it further when instead you can and should rebuild it.

You know how to treat physical injuries like cuts and sprains when you sustain them, so do learn how to treat your emotional wounds as well. Do teach your children to heed their emotions and to treat their emotional injuries as soon as they occur. Do show them how to go forward in life with confidence, knowing your emotional pain will inevitably knock you down, but knowing as well that you can pick yourself up, recover, and become stronger for your future.

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Guy Winch Ph.D. is a psychologist, keynote speaker, and author whose book, Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts (Plume, 2014) has been translated into 24 languages. He suggests a simple but revolutionary idea—that applying emotional first aid to common psychological injuries when we first sustain them can dramatically improve our mental and physical health. He uses cutting edge psychological science to illustrate the surprising ways common psychological injuries impact our behavior, mood, cognitive functioning, and physical health and provides practical tools for treating them. His TED Talk, Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid has been viewed over 5 million times and is rated as the #5 most inspiring talk on

His first book, The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way to Get Results, Improve Your Relationships and Enhance Self-Esteem (Walker and Company, 2011) is a science-based look at the psychology of complaining. His new book is, How to Fix a Broken Heart (TED Books/Simon & Schuster, 2018).

Dr. Winch blogs for Psychology Today and his writings have been featured in,, and other national media outlets.

As a Keynote speaker, Dr. Winch uses his background in stand-up comedy to deliver extremely entertaining, informative, and compelling addresses that audiences find both highly practical and immediately applicable to their work and lives.

He maintains a private practice in New York City.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. So true, well put & very inspiring. Being a mom of a teenage daughter who endures middle school’s daily dramas, it’s an especially great reminder to be a better model for my daughter. As it happens, I am often the one who learns from her, as she’s wired differently & possesses the inherent confidence I lack, so she is incredibly resilient in the face disappointment & rejection. Reading your words are helpful & reinforce tools that don’t come naturally to many of us, but can be learned & should be used.

  2. Sometimes you need to be reminded that taking care of your emotional health is as important as your physical and that it’s okay to be vulnerable. Thanks for your inspiring words!

  3. This was indeed most inspiring. Encompasses a dozen or so emotional hardships one combats throughout life. Very acute especially at the forthcoming Holiday Season.

  4. I will be printing this out and keeping it in my journal. Reading and then rereading these words will definitely help me in my journey forward.
    Thank you

    1. So touched to hear you connected with Guy’s words so deeply, Elizabeth! Thank you for allowing us to accompany you on your journey!

  5. Guy, May I have your permission to reprint this article. I have a client whom I feel would benefit a great deal from reading this article. Many thanks and the best to you for the Holidays and much success in 2014. Rev. Vernon Diannah Porter, Provincetown, MA CPC, CRC

    1. Hi Rev. Porter,

      You are welcome to print out Guy’s wisdom to share with your client! If you’d like to repost this article on a blog or website, we ask that you follow our sharing guidelines, detailed at If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.


      The Inspire Me Today Team

  6. Wow just the advise I needed in my life right now. I have been wondering when the hurt of a broken relationship would leave me. Emotional pain is terrible. People tell me to forget and move on but it is so hard. I will keep this article forever and read it often. Thank You so much for your great words.

  7. Thank you Guy, just what I needed to hear. Yes, rejection is very painful. As I am healing my emotional wounds, I am reminding myself, to accept them and be grateful to be able to feel and live with an open heart.
    A closed heart will not feel, as I have learned the hard way.
    Very inspiring post.

  8. Hi Guy…this has hit me at the right time as I feel I am coming from weakness rather than strength right now and yet all that you say is true so will try and take it on – thank you Michelle

  9. Just in time. I have ended a relationship that was unhealthy but still couldn’t get off the emotional hamster wheel. Now I realized that I must commit to love myself unconditionally. I quit my job to heal myself and travel.

  10. Just ended a 20 year experience in Family caregiving. I am the only daughter and single. Took care of my stepdad who had Colon CA and other issues from side effects of meds. He transitioned 2011. While Dad was in the process of transitioning I had to put Mom in hospital then Nursing Home because I did not know dad would pass as I hoped for a recovery and could not have have mom at home if he did come home, Neither one knew of the others condition as I did not want to induce more emotional trauma , Mom was dx with Dementia at the time my dad was dx with Ca. Mom started falling right after I put dad in hospital. Going back and forth to hospitals for 2 people at the same time . There wasn’t time for me to think about emotions or future. Only prayers to God and alot of suffering When there is no respite there is a lot of emotional wounds that will never heal. Only someone who is caregiver can relate to this. Mom made her transition 7/27/18 two days before her 87th B/D and now I have no family and who is to say brooding is a negative reaction when you had no way to make healing or peace because of the complicated grief. Maybe my experience is too intense as each person has a different level of pain perception and acceptance levels are unique to the person undergoing trauma, Forgetting or moving on is another stress trigger because you can’t see where you should be moving to when everyone you loved in life has been removed from your life. For some of us there is no escape and just being able to acknowledge a higher power at work becomes the goal or purpose. Praying that God blesses me the way he did with Job from the Bible is my mission and new assignment and your article does offer considerations that are grounding and reinforcing the innate wisdom I had long ago lost and buried deep.

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