"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me".
This old saying is one that many people grew up believing, still do believe and teach their children to believe. I have tried to see truth in this expression. Like most children, I used it as a shield against feeling hurt by other people's words. It proved itself to be effective, but only for the short term. In the long term, I see how this old adage served as a temporary fix and am no longer fooled by its' falsities.
Sticks and stones may break our bones and words can sometimes hurt us. Because words matter.
We are seeing this more than ever before now that social media has become the norm. Twitter wars are breaking out and cyber bullying is now an epidemic. The evidence is there. There is no denying the simple fact that words can have damaging effects on one another. The ramifications are very real and run deep.
Harmful words can lead to the rupturing of a soul. As a mother and wife, I am keenly aware of this truth. Now that my son is 10 years old, he is beginning to share his earliest childhood memories with me. Most of his memories of Mike and I are full of love and kindness (thankfully!). However, one of his most recent shared memories was of unkind words spoken to him around the age of 4 by his father and I, in which he suffered negative consequences. He said our words made him feel unimportant. This was heartbreaking news for my husband and I. Fortunately, we have been able to hear our son, feel his feelings, and repair the rupture we blindly caused him. We have helped our son establish a new thought pattern about himself when he notices that he is feeling unimportant. That new thought pattern is: "I am full of treasures". We revisit these words with him often. We also use our blunder as an opportunity to learn from and grow from as a family. The most important lesson we have all gained from this is that we must choose our words carefully. All of us. Towards ourselves and towards others.
Why do humans sometimes use hurtful words towards one another? Or why do we behave aggressively or defensively towards each other? I have been thinking quite a lot about these questions lately. My conclusion is because we ourselves have been treated this way by other people in our lives at some point. Some of us so much, that it's all we know. Some of us are hurting so badly inside that all we know to do is treat others poorly through our words. It's really a cry for help. I am convinced that not one single person on this planet wants to alienate themselves from another human being. We are all longing for love, connection, reassurance and acceptance. But sometimes one's pain runs so deep, they subconsciously believe that in order to protect themselves from more pain, they must cause pain to another. Not because they want to intentionally hurt someone, but because they are hurting inside. And what that person doesn't realize is the power of their words. Our brains are hardwired for story, so when someone says something hurtful to us, it's more than normal than not, to attach meaning to it and create a story around it, usually a story that has a negative charge. This is why teaching our children that sticks and stones won't break our bones isn't good enough. We must do more than that. We must infuse pure magic into their souls through positive thought processes and affirmations so that they may be armed with a shield of truth.
When we practice positive mental thought patterns, we are literally rewiring our brains and undoing all of the lies from this world we have learned to believe. And this is the magic. With thoughts alone, which eventually become words, we have the power to either create healing. Recently, my family and I have been infusing magic into our souls through positive thought processes and affirmations before we go to bed. The following affirmations have been particularly healing and comforting for us all:
I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life. I am safe.
I am seen with love, compassion and understanding. All is well.
I trust myself. I am free to be me.
I forgive myself. I forgive others.
I express my emotions freely. It is safe to be me. I express who I am.
I am full of treasures.
This practice allows us to return to our true state, that which we were born into - pure joy and love. We all enter the world as tiny babies, loving fully, expressing ourselves openly and trusting completely. These are all the truths of our being. All the rest is learned nonsense and can be unlearned. How we talk to ourselves will be how we talk to others. Let's all use our thoughts and our words with care and attention. And may we always remember.. words matter.
Please join me this Sunday, January 22nd at AWARE LANCASTER. As a Create Karma Generator and Ambassador, I will be presenting a mini workshop on Nurturing the Next Generation through Yoga + Mindfulness and would love to see you there! It is through mindful actions that we, together, can make lasting changes from within and ultimately for our next generation.
Your Yoga & Wellness Educator