Myself: But I grew up with the little saying “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Both of these things can't be true.
Me: I know now that this childhood saying couldn’t be farther from the truth! So many people are damaged emotionally by unkind words spoken to or about them. But they didn’t know back then what we know today about how the mind works. Poor, unenlightened generation, thinking words can’t hurt them. *sigh*
Myself: Wait! Maybe both of these things are true!
Words do have power but only if we give them power. We - not the one who spoke the words - are responsible for what we do with their words, how we interpret them and what we make them mean. If we accept other's words as truth, then we give those words power; power to affect our thoughts and all the emotions that come with those thoughts. We may be encouraged, or we may feel defeated or small. But the power of their words is in our hands, not theirs.
Me: Maybe that generation wasn’t so unenlightened after all. Perhaps this statement was true in that time because they realized that they had the option to accept or reject the words of others. They understood that they themselves were responsible for their own emotional well-being, and they got to choose for themselves whether or not the words of others were going to hurt them.
Maybe we’re the unenlightened ones.
Maybe we lack the self-confidence it takes to let someone else’s words roll off our backs. Maybe we’ve chosen to let others define us, to decide what’s true for and about us, thereby accepting (even looking for) the words of others without considering their veracity or relevance to our life and circumstances.
Writing about widow life, grief, and general random ramblings.
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