Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Almost everyone is familiar with this line. I first learned of it as a child in grade school. As a way of dealing with insults that were thrown my way. If you’ve never heard it before, what it basically means is “calling me names can’t hurt me”.

I don’t agree with that. My mom always quotes the Bible verse saying that the tongue holds life or death. And I agree with her. The words we speak can have amazing effects on the people around us, especially the ones we hold dear. Words may not break bones but they can break something much worse, the spirit or the heart.

Words can change darkness to light.

Be mindful of what you say. For me it is a lot harder to say good things than bad, but all it takes is practice. Focus on the good rather than the bad.

In the Empire State Building episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted randomly speaks words of encouragement to a random man passing by and the man stops and says “thank you I was about to jump off the top of the building”. It’s a funny joke but if you think about it it’s really not that funny because there are people like that in our everyday lives. There are people whose hearts are heavy and spirits are broken even if we can’t see it on the outside.

Our words carry so much weight. In every single one of us lies the power to lift someone up or break them down.

Words can save someone who’s struggling in the ocean of existence, someone who’s ready to give up, someone who has been torn down by a hard life.

So the challenge is this, do I add weight to someone who is already drowning, or do I throw them a life preserver?

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