"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill."
~The Buddha

When I was growing up, it was "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me".  As I got to be older, I realized the fallacy of this.  Now when I teach Handle with Care, I am always careful to include this updated (and I think more accurate) phrasing, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words can break my heart".

Usually, I can see the light of recognition dawn in some eyes as I say this.  Most of us have been hurt at one time by someone's thoughtless (or worse, thoughtFUL) words.  I remember a time when my father yelled at me for something I hadn't done.  Looking back, I know his anger came from fear but to me as a child, it was anger pure and simple.

I remember that feeling so well to this day.......

and it influenced how I spoke to my girls as they were growing up.  I tried very hard to think before I spoke and not to speak/yell in anger.  You can be forgiven but it's soooo hard for people to forget.  My father yelled at me many times as a kid (he was a yeller) but that one time and all it's feelings of shame and hurt still sticks.  And it was probably 48 years ago or so. 

Not to start the week off on an profound note (Pk's cpap machine made noise all night -it beeps when his mask becomes unseated properly- and I didn't sleep as well as I could have), but this morning's Inspriation brought these thoughts and I thought I'd share them.

One of my constant resolutions for every new year is to think before I speak and to give other people the benefit of the doubt.  These are ongoing works in progress as am I.  Some days I'm better at it than others.  The internet has given us such a gift of long distance friendship and communication.  It's also given some folks the annonymity they need to spew forth all manner of ugliness.  I choose not to take part in that.  I'd love it if people remembered my words but I want them to remember them with a smile and not cringe inside.

Have a peaceful Monday.  It's a Federal Holiday here in the US  (President's Day) and the train station was almost empty this morning.  No banks, no mail, no trash pick up.  BUT, if you need mental health services, we're here.


Roxie said…
Every one of your posts is a mental health service. Thank you!
Rose Red said…
This is a lesson I'm trying to out into practice every day. With the small person now really understanding and taking in what we say (both to him and in front of him) it is really important to speak thoughtfully. Not always easy for me, but I am trying.
KnitTech said…
The sticks and stones song never made much sense to me. Your version is better.
Bells said…
The cruelty of words spoken in anger, and the lasting damage they can do, is something I've seen time and again. You're right, forgiveness can happen but it can also make you very wary in future.

I try never to say anything in anger that is coming out of spite and pain. It's always good to step back a little and think through the consequences.

Thanks for those thoughts.
Olivia said…
You're so right, I'm amazed sometimes at the words that come back to me from the past. Including stupid things I've said. Words can resonate for a long time.

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