When someone comes along and says something to you which seems hurtful, and if you are affected by it, it is because somewhere inside you you've taken it seriously. That means that you believe there is some truth in it.
If you did not believe there was any truth in it, you would recognize that this person is just calling out for love, that they are mistaken, that they need healing and correction, and you would just respond with love and laughter. You would make light of it and not take it seriously or personally at all.
When people come along and provoke you in this way, they are actually attempting to help you, by pointing out places in yourself where you actually believe that something is wrong with you. If you didn't believe something is wrong with you, when people say these things to you you would not react at all. It would not move you or disturb your peace, or your confidence, or your certainty.
Clearly, if you are upset by what someone has said, it is because, sadly enough, deep down, you believed there is some truth to what they said. In other words, you've abandoned your certainty that you are wholly truth and love and light, and have entered into a lower estimation of yourself, which is in agreement with their evaluation of yourself. If it seems that they have so easily triggered you into a reaction of hurt and retaliation, then clearly you have too easily fallen into a belief that you're not good enough, and that you deserve this mis-treatment. And this will be marked with you viciously retorting that 'thats not true at all', in a very upset way, because some part of you actually does believe it's true. You say you don't want it, but you do.
Therefore, people come along and seem to hurt you but in fact, you could not be hurt if you did not agree to be hurt. And then you must in fact be hurting yourself, because the other person isn't the one who forces you to agree. That's your choice. You don't have to agree, you can hold firm in the truth, certain of what the truth about you is. But if you have any fear as to who you are, or any doubt as to your worth, or any undermining of the truth of you, then for sure, you're going to attract people to come along and poke and prod at your sore-spots to try to get to look at them to heal them. And you'll take these helpful provocations as unwanted attacks. ALL of your sense of attack, however, comes from yourself, and you attack yourself plenty enough without needing to claim that anyone else has added to or caused it.
So if someone has said something to me, something that is not true, and if I have a reaction to this, it must mean that I have an ego, which means that I believe I am not as God created me, and therefore I am the one who is not certain of my own integrity. And it is my own lack of certainty in myself that is being pointed out, and it is my own agreement with what they've said about me that sends me into a tailspin. But I have to realize that I really am responsible for this reaction. I am the one who believes this (and probably worse) about myself, it just *seems* like they put the hurt into me by seeming to be the one who attacked me. They did no such thing. All they did was raise to my awareness the pre-existing hurtful attitude about myself that was already inside me, which I put there, because it's what I think of myself.
People who are frequently easily upset and easily triggered and easily angered and easily offended, do not think well of themselves. People who are often reactionary and get extremely worked up when other people seem to say or do things that are unacceptable and 'clearly false', you know that those people are 'weak' in their loyalty to the truth, and have little faith in themselves. They don't realize who they really are, or how much God loves them, or what the truth is about them and others, otherwise they would be in a constant state of invulnerability and joy and peace.
This state of invulnerability is what we all deserve. We are all worthy of it. We are all good enough. None of us are sinners. We've done nothing wrong. All of us are equally innocent and divine. So if that's all we are certain of, we could not be harmed by anyone attempting to say otherwise. We would just laugh and not take it seriously. But if we do not believe and know and experience this truth, then yes, we will have a reaction of 'how dare you say that' and will feel hurt and have justification for blame, to disguise the fact that we ourselves actually are the ones who don't believe in ourselves. The other people just came along to show us that, to point it out, to make us be aware of our own pain, so that we could have an opportunity to choose again as to how we regard ourselves.
And it is our own self-attack that we experience as inner hurt, not an attack by another person. We are 100% responsible for everything we experience and feel. And before we attack others for how they seem to attack us, we need to really honestly take a look at how we are attacking our own self with our own beliefs in unworthiness, negativity, lack and so on. Why is it that we don't deserve absolute love all the time? Why is it that when such and such a person comes along to tell us that we suck, do we recoil in horror that WE ourselves actually believe this is true, and how dare they point it out?
"I am not upset for the reason I think." - ACIM