Sometimes I screw up with my words, however. Sometimes I say things or write things that are hurtful.....unintentional, but hurtful nonetheless. I hate it when I do that. I want to take it all back immediately, pretending that it never existed. But, like toothpaste, once it's out, it's damn near impossible to put back in the tube. At that point, there's not much I can do except apologize and try not to do it again. But I'm human and sometimes I make mistakes.....more than once. At times like that I check my motives. Was it my intention to be hurtful? Was I trying to get in a good "dig?" That's rarely the case for me, because I'd hurt me before I'd hurt you, which may not be the healthiest thing, but, in the spirit of authenticity, it's the truth. Apparently, there are aspects of the people-pleaser still lurking within me. Regardless, it kills me when I hurt someone.
I try not to repeat my hurtful actions, but every now and then, it happens. Maybe it's a different situation and, in my mind, that makes it okay. Or sometimes I repeat a faux pas because I'm menopausal/forgetful or stressed or distracted or not paying attention, and I beat myself up because I did it....again. Shit. It may take awhile for me to forgive myself in that case. Like I said, I'd rather hurt me than you, so when I hurt you, I take it out on me (clear as mud, and oh-so loving, right?). But, since I'm not into beating myself up (like I used to, anyway, believe it or not) I do my level best to have integrity with my words.
But what happens when I'm on the receiving end of hurtful words? I have some choices (yay for choices!!). One is to remember that when people say hurtful or unkind things to me (intentionally) that they are coming from a place of hurt, pain or fear. It's more about them than it is about me. Sometimes they just don't think it through (thought-less)....all the way to the hurtful consequences. I can remember that words don't have power over me unless I give it to them. Saying I'm a chair, doesn't make me a chair. I can bless them and let it go. Or I could argue the point with them (hello.......definately not a chair here!), but I have to ask myself if I'd rather be right or happy (because in their mind, I am a chair, regardless of the eloquent arguments to the contrary). I almost invariably choose to be happy.
Words have power (think Martin Luther King, Jr. and Adolf Hitler -- two of the most influential speakers of the Twentieth Century) and can be used for good or evil, love or hurt. Words are important, to be used thoughtfully and consciously (yes, you'll make mistakes...we all do). Use your words with love and integrity. But when they're directed at you? They may hurt, but you can take that power back. You know the truth. What other people say or think doesn't matter.
Have you had issues with words, yours or someone else's? What did you do about it?
Have you been there?