Sometimes what people say may trigger a sensitive spot in you. This might affect your reaction. Because what you hear may trigger that sensitive spot, whereby, you might feel vulnerable or it might remind you when you were unable to protect yourself. You might find it difficult to let such comments slide-albeit they might be unimportant.
Make it a point to paraphrase or ask for clarification, making certain you understood correctly. Being able to assess what another person means by his/her remarks will help you to see things more clearly-albeit your sensitive spot was triggered. If you heard the comment correctly you then need to express your feelings openly rather than stuffing your feelings, which could smolder and cause more distress later. The more open you are about your feelings, the more honest and supportive you will find your interactions will be.
When others know how you feel it gives them an opportunity to modify their behavior. Expressing your feelings also gives you a sense of control over your response to their comments. People say things in the style they have become accustomed, not realizing it could be offensive to anyone, unless, they are told in an open, honest, direct manner.
Expressing your thoughts and feelings clearly will help shed light on what is going on with the person who you are speaking with. Expressing your thoughts and feelings not only assuages any uncertainties, it also allows the other person to see the effect their words have on you or others. By being more proactive in your interactions, others will be more aware of the shape what they say takes and will be more understanding of your integrity.