There’s a popular saying that goes like this: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words won’t or will never harm me”. This saying was supposed to illustrate how words or taunts are not supposed to have any effect on us, because apparently they are “just words”.
However, over time people have come to realise that this statement isn’t completely true. Now I use the word completely here, because we could say that words can’t or won’t harm us in a way, but there’s a process we have to undergo before we realise how to circumvent the issue of negativity. Let’s talk about these words that seem harmless.
Words are powerful. What we say can affect us and those around us, positively or negatively. Our utterances play a huge role in our interaction and in some cases are used to seal faith or blessings spiritually (Religiously). So, we can’t deny how much effect words have.
I realised this when I was still in primary school. Someone had said something hurtful to me (I don’t remember what exactly) but I remember how devastated I was. A relative of mine quoted the sticks and stones… and I was left asking myself why I was unhappy if those words weren’t supposed to hurt me. I spent days thinking about it, and when it looked like I’d somehow forgotten it, it came back in full force.
Most of these words are centred mostly on things we, as human beings cannot change. For example, problems like acne, speech problems, even body deformations. Yet, we find people who use these things as jokes, make side comments, and in some cases, say it to your face.
Puberty, for me, came with acne and most times I got comments like:
Don’t you wash your face?
Aren’t you going to do something about this?
Thank God my face isn’t like this
Ah! This your face sef.
It’s crushing; it’s heart breaking. These comments didn’t come once in a day or sparingly; they were back to back, so each day I had something to think about.
Words, labels, and tags have so much effect on you, that it becomes obvious you are not okay. It tells on you physically!
Can words hurt you?
Yes, they can.
Now, that’s all said, let’s talk about people who use these words negatively.
One time in secondary school, I was in the library with a friend when this girl came in. She sat beside us and began talking to my friend. I was reading quietly. When she was done, she got up, walked a few steps away from us, then came back like she had forgotten something of hers. She called my name and then said to me:
‘How is it that you have pimples when your mom and sister don’t?
I’m asking because I have never seen a daughter looking ugly when her mom is really beautiful. Anyway shaa, you’re very intelligent.’
Now let’s go over this shall we?
This girl left wherever it was she was going to, to:
1. Compare me to my mother and sister
2. Call me ugly
And then as some kind of consolation, told me I was intelligent.
You have a deformed leg and I’m telling you it’s all your fault, but hey! At least you have great hair.
Almost immediately, my friend started yelling at her. I observed her all through. She had this look on her face, it seemed to say “did I lie?”
She did not care.
Now, some people would say: “it’s not like she lied” or “she’s only stating the obvious”
Yes, but what was the intention behind “stating the obvious”?
Bullies wouldn’t say these things if they don’t know the effect it has on you. There are a number of ways to tell people these things and one of them does not include jeering or pointing it out in the presence of others for laughs.
I think the saddest thing about this issue is that, these people don’t care. They are jerks and they want to see you uncomfortable. It gives them satisfaction knowing you are feeling bad.
So, do these people care?
No they do not.
Now let’s look at how we could minimize the effect of these words have on us.
A lot of people like to think ignoring these horrible comments makes you immune to the effect it has on you. Most times people would advise that you either “suck it up” or “just deal with it” and there’s so much you can take before that false wall of immunity comes crumbling down.
A huge step toward developing a thick skin is confrontation. As I said earlier, most people would advise you don’t. However, confronting these people gives you an idea as to what they are thinking.
Mr/miss bully walks up to you. They say:
‘Why are you so—–‘
You stare at them and ask:
‘What exactly is your problem?’ or ‘Why do you always come here? Don’t you have something better to do?’
Observe them closely. You’re going to see a brief look of panic or cluelessness on their face. They don’t have anything else to do!
You see bullying comes from a deep place of insecurity (you can’t tell me otherwise). Most people would argue, saying ‘how can someone be jealous of everyone he/ she is mean to?’, but notice I said “insecurity “NOT “jealousy”
Let’s be honest, someone who is aware, confident, and comfortable in their own skin WILL NOT feel the need to belittle someone else just to make themselves feel high and mighty. Bullies feed off peoples’ approval and so do these things, so as to distract people from their own flaws and imperfections. Unfortunately for them, it’s a cycle. They talk about someone; someone talks about them (most times in the same social group or circle)
Speaking of group. Watch how the pack of wolves reacts to their “Alpha wolf’s” state of reticence. They withdraw, and then you realise, it’s not even worth it.
A huge reason why I think confrontations are ideal is because, you get to see for yourself the power you have over the level of negativity these people bring. It won’t stop the remarks, but then they’ll think twice before coming to your face again.
So here are a few notes
– Words, when used negatively are harmful. We shouldn’t feign immunity but instead understand these feelings and master healthy means of circumventing all the negativity. One step towards that is admitting how we feel when these words are said to us.
– – If you are being taunted about some things like, being overweight, having acne, stuttering, having scanty hair, and so on. It’s very normal to want to change that. When I had my acne problem, I tried to find ways to improve the condition of my skin, but what I didn’t do was let the negativity dictate the rate at which I did that. Everything is a process and you are allowed to grow at your own pace and on your own terms.
This is all part of our growth and experience, and every now and then these words can and will affect us, but with some guidance and positive affirmations we can filter most of the negativity and get to a place where all the hurt and pain becomes just a twinge, and then are able to walk above all the hate and so live peacefully.
So that’s it for today’s post. It’s quite lengthy but I hope you like it. If you did, kindly like, leave a comment and subscribe; please don’t forget to confirm your subscription (for email subscribers) via email. Please please use the share button and tell your friends all about my blog.