2013-03-29 / Columnists


By Eileen Hodges

“Stick and Stones…

...may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Don’t you believe it. All of us have been hurt by insensitive words or name-calling. Our words have power. Just as a kind word gives us a warm feeling; a feeling of pride or acceptance; nasty words and names do just the opposite.

We remember recess on the playground and being called a terrible name, or being made fun of because of our color, or family, or too-tight shoes that were hand-me-downs. Harsh words are daggers. They are barbs of ache that shoot directly to our hearts.

This ache does not go away easily. It saps our energy and our will to disbelieve what has been said about us. This is their terrible power. Hurtful words have loads of energy to sit comfortably in our brains and hearts and are too easily remembered when we are having a bad day, or a bad time of it.

Be careful with your words. Just as gossip and name-calling and meanspirited lashings inflict hurt on others, it dashes right back to our own psyche and hearts. I am on the fence about angels and spirits and soul transformations, but some of the new science about quantum physics and a connectedness to all things has me thinking. If we are mean to those around us, isn’t it going to circle right back at us?

I’ve started really paying attention to how I say things. I used to be the, “If you can’t say anything nice, then sit right next to me,” sort of girl, but a lot of reading and raising four children has taught me how truly powerful saying something good, or bad, can be. I ask more questions before I assume things. I wait for a bit before saying about someone, “The idiot! What did he expect…how moronic!”

There is often more information about someone or a situation that we don’t know. Calling names and writing harsh emails or letters doesn’t solve a lot; at least that has been my experience. It usually results in more anger, more harsh words and extends the whole process of understanding, if it ever comes.

Is it easy to not say what we want to right off the bat? Not always, but it has helped me calm down and see the goodness in people. I relax, try to learn patience and think, really think, about how I want to say something that gets my point across without hurting anyone, or myself. I am becoming the pleasant sort people trust and want to ask about things. I don’t know if I will ever get rid of the “brutally honest” moniker I earned in my family, but I am not going to holler at anyone about it.

Drop me a line with article suggestions or comments at eileenrockbeach@gmail.com.

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