I don’t think there has ever been a more untrue, careless or stupid saying!
Sticks and stone may very well break my bones but words carry far more power. They bring life, they can uplift us, they build you up and encourage, they can motivate, inspire and bring hope or they can bring death, they can tear you down, they can rip you to pieces, they can discourage, demotivate, crush and destroy us.
I was reminded of the power of words just recently and it highlighted just how fragile we can be when someone speaks life or death over us.
A short time ago I was spending time with someone who felt I did something which deeply upset them, and BOY did they let me know how rude and insensitive I was in my disrespectful behaviour towards them and in their home!
It’s fair to say I was knocked sideways!
Now I have no problem with someone letting me know if I’ve hurt them, if they can do so in a loving manner but this was something else, it was extremely emotional, it was bitter, excessively critical and harsh and it was deeply hurtful to me.
I was reminded of something we’ve used with our children and I try to implement it myself whenever I’m speaking with others.
Now this was none of those things! And it ate at me for days afterwards. I replayed it in my mind to see if there was any justification for it, for ways I could have acted differently to prevent it, while the other party carried on as if nothing had been said.
Now this person knows nothing of my mental well-being, my history with depression and eating disorders or the fact that I have and still do use food as a form of self soothing when I’m hurting. They had absolutely no idea. They just reacted.
And it just makes me this how we can do often speak things over others with no idea of what may be going on for them privately. This person had no idea that I was already feeling vulnerable and how I was already engaging in destructive forms of behaviour. They simply reacted to something they believed I had done. They had no idea that in response to their treatment of me that I would put barriers up around myself to keep not only them out but also caught Carl up in the exclusion. They had no idea that in protecting myself from further hurt that I would go out and buy laxatives as a coping mechanism. Something I haven’t turned to in YEARS!!
Now none of my responses are their responsibility, I don’t blame them for the choices I subsequently made but I do hold them responsible for the way in which they very poorly dealt with a situation which could have been resolved and explained much more gently and for the fact that my children overheard every word spoken and yet didn’t fully understand what was being said, for that I’m incredibly angry.
So it’s a reminded not just for myself of the power our words have when directed at other people.