Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Sticks

You know, you totally suck at this!

What do mean! How can you say something like that! I'm doing the best I can!

Nonetheless, you suck at it.

Sometimes people say things that really get to you. There words might feel hurtful. They may anger you. However, it's not the words that hurt or anger. It's not the person saying them. Nope, the only thing that can hurt or anger you through words is you.

You might say, "Are you kidding? You just haven't heard some of the things that people say to others. Some people really take delight in hurting others with their words."

I'd still stand by my original statement and add an additional clarifier. Even if they mean to hurt or anger you, only you can hurt or anger you.

It all comes down to whether or not you buy what's being said. If someone damns with faint praise the meal you spent hours preparing, you may feel hurt or embarrassed or disappointed. However, you can only do so if there's something in you that agrees with the damning or at least entertains that there may be something to it. If not, then the words would have no effect.

For example, let's say that you're six-foot-four and 240 pounds. A kid walks up to you and asks if life's difficult being so short. You think he's kidding, but he's serious. He presses you for an answer saying, "What are you like five-two, maybe five-three? I bet some people never even see you in the room; they look right over you. What's it like to be a grown-up and so small?"

It's unlikely that you would feel hurt or angered by his words. You would recognize that what he's saying says more about him than you. You would laugh it off. You might later tell the story of the kid who thought you were short. You might want to disengage from the conversation, but not because you found the words hurtful.

However, if you were five-two wearing platform shoes, you might take the words differently. You'd buy them. You'd make them mean something about you. If your height were an issue for you, then you might feel hurt or angered. The words would still be about the person saying them. However, you'd have bought in.

People make ridiculous statements all the time. 99.999% of them just pass right by you, but occasionally one sticks. When it does, it's an opportunity to explore why it stuck and not why the other person said it. They said it for their own reasons and why they said it will tell you something about them. However, if you want to figure out you, then look the other direction and ask yourself questions like:
  1. How am I feeling right now? At ease? Upset? Hurt? Angry?

  2. What about that last statement rang true to me?

  3. Even if it were true, why would I make it mean something?

  4. What meaning or implications did I draw from the statement?

There's absolutely nothing anyone can say to you to hurt you or anger you. Only you can do that.

Happy Tuesday,

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