“The most powerful and courageous heroes I know are those who bite their tongues when justification, validation, temptation, or vengeance would have them strike with truthful, hurtful words.” Richelle E. Goodrich
Conflict and disagreements are a part of EVERY relationSHIP even healthy ones. But harsh and unkind words said during conflicts and disagreements can make or break a relationSHIP, destroy a partnerSHIP, and end a friendSHIP. Out of anger, unkind words are said to intentionally hurt the other person. But, why? Why during disagreements do we purposefully put others down? Why do we criticize and condemn others? How do we justify belittling others? We can’t. We don’t. It’s unfair fighting and unhealthy for any type of relationSHIP. Hurtful statements hurt and the pain from those words for some lasts forever. Have you been the recipient of hurtful words? and/or Have you ever said, “I wish I hadn’t said that!”?
People say mean things all the time without realizing hurtful words are explosive and carry great power. Reckless words once spoken cut deep and pierce the heart like a knife. Leaving life-long scars that may never heal. Typically, the person saying hurtful words won’t remember, but, the recipients of those words will remember them for the rest of their lives. Although thoughtless words spoken by others don’t have the same impact as the words spoken by someone we love and trust, their words hurt too.
I recall in the 12th grade an English teacher, Mrs. Bell, instead of teaching she’d spend valuable class minutes talking about her relationSHIP with her live-in boyfriend (Stan) or her athletic son. One day, I raised my hand and asked, “are we going to learn about literary reviews, verbs, etc. today?” She responded, “that’s why you’ll never be shit.” Her thoughtless words were certainly meant to tear me down. But that was impossible because I knew who I was...I had loving parents, siblings that I loved and who loved me, I was intelligent and college-bound, so her words had NO impact on my life. When I received my Bachelor’s degree I found Mrs. Bell. She was teaching at a continuation school within the district. I knocked on the door and she opened it with a huge smile. She hugged me, welcomed me in, and introduced me as one of her former students to the class.
She asked me, in front of the class, “What are you doing with your life, now?” I stood in front of her class and told them that Mrs. Bell was my 12th grade English teacher and that I had just graduated from college. I looked over at Mrs. Bell and she had the biggest grin. I continued, when I was a student, Mrs. Bell said that I would never be shit, so I just stopped by to let her know that she was wrong as shit. She jumped up from her desk shouting her denials while the class erupted in laughter. I ended by encouraging them to NEVER let someone’ else’s opinion of them become their reality. I looked at Mrs. Bell and said words CAN hurt. I explained that her words made NO impact on my life, but over the years, I wondered if she had said those words to other students because if she had, those words coming from a teacher could have changed the trajectory of their life. I gave her a hug and bid her and the students a good day. Two years later when I received my Master’s Degree, I paid Mrs. Bell another visit and repeated the scenario. The difference this time was that when she opened the door her smile wasn’t as big and she looked as if she wished, she hadn’t said that.
Some people are fragile and we may not know the extent of their fragility so never underestimate or overlook the impact of your words on others. ALWAYS be mindful of the STRENGTH and POWER that lie in the tongue. It has the ability to build and destroy; it can inspire or tear down, and it can make or break a relationSHIP. Thoughtless and unkind words do not lift people up, they drag people down. Use your words wisely. Don’t be careless with your words when speaking with- your children, parents, co-workers, spouses, mates, students, and other human beings. Because, hurtful words once spoken, cannot be taken back. You cannot un-ring a bell. So, think before you say something that may hurt someone else otherwise you’ll find yourself having to say, “I WISH I HADN’T SAID THAT”!!!
SHIP TALK: Have you ever wished you hadn’t said something? Has someone said hurtful words to you? How did you respond? Have you said hurtful things to others? Did you apologize?
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