“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” goes the verse of one children’s rhyme. Nothing could be further from the truth, in my opinion. While a person might recover from the effects of physical violence, it is the verbal abuse that always cuts the deepest.
Even a simple word can make a world of difference to the meaning of what we say. For example, if one was to say: He is intelligent and well-spoken but wears spectacles. The reference seems to suggest that there’s something wanting in his person. If the three letter word ‘but‘ was substituted with ‘and‘, it would make such a difference.
Often we use words mindlessly. I find this especially so in our communication with those closest to us. This is also true when we talk to children or those who in some way in a weaker position than we are. When we’re talking to our superiors or people whose opinion we value, we take a lot more trouble with our words.
Perhaps, if we realized just how powerful our words are and how they can impact a person for the rest of their life, we would not use them so mindlessly. In my own experience, I continue to carry the guilt from calling someone dear to me a ‘failure’ and taunting them with it. I was a child when I did that. I used the in what I thought was self-defence, but I know that it was mean and spiteful. I have tried to make it up to this person, but I know I can never take those words back.
Words are like eggs dropped from great heights. You could no more call them back then ignore the mess they left when they fell. ~ Stephen R. Covey
I should have learned from that experience. To a large extent, I have. But there’s still miles to go before I learn to censor my speech so as not to wound another.
Have you said words you’ve regretted? Or has someone’s words wounded you so deeply that you remember them years later?
May you be inspired – every day!
- Words (thepsychobabble.net)
- Sticks and Stones… (rhachellenicol.com)
- Words CAN Hurt You (collegemindset.wordpress.com)