Words Can Harm. Words Can Heal.
Words Can Harm
This is Part 1 of a 7 part series entitled “Words Can Harm. Words Can Heal.”
Remember that old nursery rhyme?
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!”
Have you found that to be true for you?
I haven’t. Words can hurt me. I always felt inadequate when I was younger and would remember that nursery rhyme. I used to wonder what was wrong with me for having my feelings hurt when people would say mean things or become sarcastic or, even worse, call me names. Then I grew up and discovered that others also felt hurt when people used their tongue in the direction of anger, sarcasm, and gossip. Finally, I began feeling normal that my feelings could be hurt. Isn’t it funny the stock we placed in little things we learned as children?
“I’m rubber. You’re glue. Whatever you say, bounces off me and sticks to you!”
Another nursery rhyme saying. If the first one were, indeed, true, why would we need to continue on with the second nursery rhyme? It either doesn’t hurt me or it will bounce off me and stick to you – seemingly with the intention of hurting you – so which is it? So many mixed messages.
“The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Now isn’t this one in total conflict with the above? The pen writes words and the sword kills. So if words are as benign as the above nursery
lie rhyme would have us believe, how is it that the pen can be more mighty? If only sticks, stones, and swords can “break our bones” how can a pen, that writes words, be even mightier than that if words will never hurt me? It baffles ones mind the mixed messages we receive. No wonder we’re all to eager to pay a psychologist to fix us. And if words did, indeed, have no impact or at least no harmful impact, why do millions of people buy self-help books with such zest and watch Dr. Phil with such vigor? If you have ever been hurt by words you are not inadequate or abnormal. You have just proven yourself as a person with feelings.
Anagram time: What fortuitous word can be formed when we rearrange the letters of sword that could seemingly imply it to be a quite “double-edged” powerful noun?
Untruths and more untruths. More programmed “lies” we try to tell ourselves in order to pretend all is right with the world. Pretending is harmful in this context. If we continue to pretend we haven’t an infection we won’t seek treatment for it. It’s my hope to acknowledge the “what is” to such a degree that others gain comfort in doing the same. When enough people are proving the example that healing and serenity can be had – even in the face of painful truths, like “words can harm” – then we can learn the remedy. By learning the remedy we can recreate our world.
Tomorrow, in Part 2 of the 7 part series, “Words can Harm. Words can Heal.”
Look for it Friday September 01, 2006.