Yes, it's summer, which means it's time for beaches and bathing suits! Most people love the summer, but I just tolerate it. It's not just the heat that bothers me, it's the sun. I am one of the palest people you will ever meet. So, when summer rolls around and everyone else gets beachy gold and brown, I don't, unless I forget previous years and use sunless tanner, in which case I turn orange and streaky.
There was that one summer when I turned lobster red. I was 16 years old, wearing my first bikini since I was two. I went to the beach with my friends and fell asleep in the sun. When I woke up, my ordinarily snowy torso was bright red, and it only got worse. I developed big, freaky blisters; even the weight of a cotton bed sheet was excruciating to the touch.
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I learned my lesson, and now, I don't leave the house without SPF 50 or higher, mostly because the pain of that burn is something I will never forget. Today was hot and sunny, and remembering the pain of that burn, I wondered, can we have emotional sunburns, too? That is, pain from hurt feelings, anger and misunderstanding that has rubbed us so raw we're chafing. Help! I Have Trust Issues Because Of My Childhood
I do believe I have witnessed emotional sunburn, even suffered from it myself on occasion. Here are five questions you can ask yourself to see if you experienced it as well:
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- Is there someone close to you, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, sibling, etc., with whom you have regular conflict?
- Is the conflict seemingly always about the same issues?
- Do you feel chronically misunderstood by this person, no matter how many times you try to explain yourself?
- Do you enter interactions with this person with the best of intentions, only to have things usually blow up, though you have no idea why?
- Do the words of this person cut you like a knife?
If you've answered yes to three or more of these questions, you have an emotional sunburn. But don't worry, you're not alone. Like actual sunburn, most of us have been badly burned emotionally at least once. The good news is that you will heal if you give yourself these balms:
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