Friday, March 22, 2013

Sticks and Stones

I used to chant that children’s rhyme a lot when I was a kid…but I never really believed it. Still don’t.

“Names” – when hurled in anger - can and do hurt. A lot.

I’ve been called a lot of mean things by many different people in my life…most I choose to forget. Some, I can never erase from my mind. I’m sure you’ve heard these words used carelessly in your life as well:

Stupid                                 Worthless                                           Useless

Ungrateful                          Crazy                                                    Ugly

Fat                                        Liar                                                       Dumbass

As we get older “names” can take different forms. Something like an off-hand remark by a colleague or an email you weren’t supposed to see, or even not being invited for drinks after work can be just as painful as being called “doo-doo head” by the kid next door.

The pain can be even deeper if the name calling is preceded by something (an act or event) that was stressful to begin with. Like realizing you’ve made a mistake. That alone is jarring…painful.

Having to own up to you error, and the scope of it, is torture. Apologizing for the mistake is not super-comfy either. Any “name calling” that occurs in that sort of situation can have a deep and scarring impact on a person’s integrity and their heart-of-hearts.

I am just as guilty of “name calling” as the next person…I’ve let words fly without thinking…and wished, too late, that I could take those words back. There have been occasions when I have stubbornly refused to accept a heartfelt apology based on my own pain and, perhaps, a desire to make the other person suffer along with me.

Every day, each of us has moments that give us an opportunity to choose our words and decide whether we impact those who will hear them in a positive or negative way. Choose wisely.

Words are precious. Words can never be taken back. It behooves us to THINK about what we are about to say – to ponder the potential impact they may have on the person(s) we are speaking to, near or about – BEFORE we utter them…releasing them, and their energy, into the universe forever.

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