We have all heard the saying “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me,” and I can’t think of a more incorrect saying in the English language.
I was speaking to somebody the other day who was very hurt by the words of others; it was more that she was taunted by a group of teenagers. Whether it is the sting of someone’s words or the embarrassment of a group of kids jeering, words have incredible power over you and can really put you down into the dumps.
Why do we give words the power to hurt us?
To answer this we need to look at our inner dialogue.
Are you your own worst enemy?
Do you allow your negative self-talk to take control of your life, giving away your power to something that only exists within the boundaries of your own mind. What you’re telling yourself isn’t necessarily true.
Yet you have control over your thoughts. When you allow self-defeating negative words to enter your stream of consciousness, you can make a choice to turn the switch and think of something else and in fact tap into the power of positive thinking.
When you catch yourself thinking negatively about yourself, say “stop!” out loud, and verbalise the positive thoughts instead.
For example, if you were thinking, “I am fat,” then you have to say aloud, “Stop! I am losing weight and will soon be at my desired body weight.”
See the difference this will make. If you are depressed for being overweight, don’t allow yourself to think, “I’m so fat and ugly, and I’ll never lose weight.” Think of the alternative side, force yourself to say aloud, “I am beautiful and I can lose this weight because I have the inner strength to do it.”
Keep doing this every time your inner dialogue tries to give you negative chatter. Eventually this will become natural for your way of thinking, and you will be far more confident with a positive mindset.
Please understand you can only take offense at words if you choose to give them power over you. You can choose to rip away all that power by the simple act of not reacting to it.
It’s like when this girl the other day faced cruel taunts from a group of mindless teenagers, rather than giving their words power she should have just looked forward, ignoring them totally, then give a small, but condescending shake of the head, and immediately just thought to herself, pathetic idiots they’re not worth the time of day to even listen to what they’ve said.
Words are just that, words. The only reason offensive words hurt is that we choose to give them power over us.
This is just one of the ways our inner dialogue not only sabotages us, but hurts us. It can be extremely critical, berating you when you make mistakes. Often it will be the instigator of calling yourself derogatory names putting you down. It makes you your very own worst enemy.
When you keep telling yourself things that are hurtful then eventually you begin to believe them. But the good news is that you can change your self-talk any time you want. You can become aware of your internal dialogue and consciously replace it with a more encouraging messages.
Try these simple steps for starters:
Develop awareness of your Internal Dialogue. Notice when you are being self critical, putting yourself down, thinking about yourself in a negative way.
Challenge these negative messages. Stop yourself and challenge your negative belief. Is this really true?
Replace with positive talk. Tell yourself the opposite to your negative thoughts.
Over time, your efforts will pay off in the form of stronger self-esteem and respect for yourself and your capabilities. It probably won’t happen overnight, but the more you work at turning your self-talk in a more encouraging direction, the better you’ll feel about yourself.
Start being your own best friend, and start being complementary about yourself. When you do nobody else will be able to hurt you with their words.