One of the lessons we teach children is that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Don’t let what other people say bother you. Simple, right? But even though we learned this as children, we don’t practice it as adults. We know name-calling shouldn’t bother us, but it does.
The problem is that we hold onto other people’s words and let them define us. One of the reasons we let words affect us is that we think the person speaking the words knows more than we do. When we want to validate our own beliefs, we ask for someone else’s opinion. If they agree with us, we feel good. If they don’t, we feel bad. If they tell us they are better than us, or we are no good, we feel depressed. This is because we give the words the power to affect us. In reality, words by themselves can’t hurt us; we allow them to hurt us. We allow other people to hurt our feelings. What does that term even mean? We can’t “hurt” the way we feel. We can only allow the words someone else says to trigger negative emotions. Why? Because they dredge up fears in us that we have stored in the past
We can’t know what other people are going through based solely on what we see or hear about them. Nor can they know what’s going on in our lives based on what they’ve seen or heard about us. If we remember who we are inside, nothing anyone might say can affect us. We will never attain the peace we seek if it is dependent upon what others say and do.