We often tell our children this lie in an attempt to soften the hurt when someone has spoken cutting words about them. We may even have attempted to believe it ourselves when someone has spoken ill of us. But, we don’t do our children or ourselves any favors by trying to turn bad behavior into good or even neutral. At least one of the reasons we would do well to own up to the truth that it hurts when people speak venom concerning us is that we may then also believe that it is okay for us to speak venom against others, because after all words don’t really mean anything.
Words are, of course, important as they represent concepts, thoughts, emotions, intentions, etc. Although, I would be the first to defend
that it is up to us individually and personally to determine/ choose what we believe, how we interpret even the nastiest of things said of us and how we then respond; it hurts and hurts badly when we are disrespected, talked down to, ridiculed, teased, made fun of, put down, called names, and criticized.
If words can be so hurtful, they can also be very healing. You probably can think of a time when someone said something particularly nice or complimentary when they did not have to and remember how good that felt. Again I will say that what others think is just that – what others think. It is not the basis of our self-worth or even necessarily an accurate representation of our performance. However, kind words and validating comments do feel good and can be motivating and add to our general sense of well-being, because we do tend to want to be accepted and appreciated by others.
So, where is this going, you might be wondering? We need to think of this from the angle that we can influence and that is how we treat other people. Why don’t you choose to say something kind, validating, uplifting, complimentary, loving, appreciative, or affirming to those you meet and especially those with whom you live? You will be glad you did!