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The Power of Words

No Longer 'Sticks and Stones'

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I grew up saying this chant at people who tried to insult me. I find those words funny now. As if those words were a shield from the hurtful things people hurled at me, most of which without even hearing me say one word. I kept this little chant in the background throughout even my high school career. Being the shy, nerd chick who was always more into comic books and video games than make-up and shopping, I was a constant target for these words, even from people I considered 'friends'.

It wasn't until my oldest daughter came home in tears because someone picked one her self-made hairstyle, that I realized how unhelpful this little saying is. I tried to explain to my hurt little six-year-old the meaning behind the chant I have been saying my whole life. She looked at me, her big blue eyes swimming in tears, and in all of her six-year-old wisdom, said, "Of course they hurt you. They hurt your heart, if they didn't I wouldn't be crying." I was so taken aback that I just hugged her and let her cry it out, telling her she is beautiful, that they did not understand her style, and that she is perfect exactly how she is. 

That night I lay awake and thought back over the years. I was a pretty young mother, only seven years out of high school with my six-year-old. I had been married to my husband the same amount of time. But as I lay reflecting on my young life, I suddenly had a realization: I had stuck all the hurtful words people hurled at me my whole life into a box and pretended they did not hurt me. In turn, I took those words and began to hurt myself; to believe those words to be true. I guess you could say I had a leak in the box.  

My husband battles severe, clinical depression, so I am not uneducated to the signs and symptoms of depression. That being said, I completely denied them in myself. As I watched myself lose interest in things I loved the most, as I watched my weight skyrocket to over 400 pounds, as I ate an entire tupperware container of leftover mac and cheese in the middle of the night, hiding the evidence from my family, I denied my true feelings and, in a sense, who I really am.

So, back to the topic at hand. Words. We encounter so many words throughout our day. Some are normal words we all use on a daily basis. Some are encouraging words we all should be using on a daily basis. Others are rude and hurtful words that should not be said to each other, no matter what the circumstances. Now-a-days, with social media and everyone being able to get a hold of everyone else almost immediately, words can be thrown at people almost constantly. It is up to us, as a part of the human race, to choose which words we are going to throw at one another. Are they going to be encouraging, uplifting words? Or are we going to add to the mass trolling that is hurtful words from the safety of a keyboard?

My moral is that we need to choose our words carefully, we need to learn to uplift each other. Imagine the world, what we could accomplish, if we all learned to love each other; if we all learned to treat each other with respect. 

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The Power of Words
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