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*Warning: f-bombs dropped below!
I’m not sure if there is even one curse word in the entirety of the English language that has not been hurled at me in anger at some point.
Pretty much all of them were well deserved at the time, make no mistake. Still, many of those times, I found myself really and truly hurt by what the person had said to me.
A mixture of my actions, low self-esteem, and a lot of substance abuse allowed those words to burrow down deep inside of me. And boy did they hurt. I know that I am not alone in having internalized these insults in the past. But I’m learning how to take away their power over me.
As I previously stated, I’ve been called a lot of things. These are the kind of words that tend to stick with us for a long time:
“Filthy drug addict.”
“You only thrive in rehab.”
“You are worthless.”
That last one really knocks us in the dirt, right?
These jabs feel like an invalidation of our very existence—usually when we’re already completely unconvinced of our ability to get dressed in the morning.
I made some serious mistakes, yes. We all do. But to be called worthless is never necessary, especially because we are already doing a great job at feeling that way all on our own.
Hurtful words are made all the worse when spoken to us by someone extremely close to us—someone whose opinion we value. Even if we forget 95 percent of the words spoken to and from someone throughout a relationship, we will always remember those ones. They fuck us up.
Getting insults thrown at you from someone that you actually care about is a bitch.
It was only months after getting clean and looking back at previous exchanges that I finally started to get over the hurt.
How? I came to realize that I do have value.
People’s old opinions of me are no longer valid. And since they’re no longer valid, I can’t find any reason to care about their thoughts of me.
That freedom doesn’t just come from letting time pass or forgetting how much we cared about them at the time. These new feelings, or lack thereof, come from being the best person we can be. Period.
Personally, I have been doing the hard work to better myself, and as a result, I’ve gained a special power. The power to tell all the haters: you were wrong about me.
(I would be lying if I said that it doesn’t feel really good.)
I now know that if someone wants to quantify me in some capacity, my bank account says that I’m worth $125, which is more than zero. I am much more than worthless; thank you very much. And so are you.
If we are doing the best we can to improve our lives and the lives of those around us, we can become immune to the bullshit being brought up from our pasts.
If we are living clean, free, and honest—if we are happy, healthy, and open—and if we have genuinely tried to make amends for our past mistakes, then there is nothing in the world anyone can say about our pasts to put us down. That is who we used to be, not who we are now. And if they can’t move past it, that is their own damn problem.
But, as we are in the process of improving ourselves, it’s important to recognize that not everyone is going to be on board. I was a pretty shitty person to a lot of people. So in the past, I have received some not-so-nice messages and calls from people from my history. My personal favorite was this gem: “You are a scumbag.”
But I won’t let myself be hurt by someone who knows nothing of the hard work I have done to better myself. I just hang it up. Let it go.
We all suck sometimes, but when we have moved on from acting in a “scumbag” fashion, their words are worthless—our ghosts of a life long-departed hold no sway over us or our current experience.
In the past, what people have said would have really bothered me. But now, all the stupid, absurd, and childish comments mean absolutely nothing. Because I did not allow it to, and neither should you.
It’s also important to note where a lot of insults are coming from. Let us ask ourselves if we value that person’s opinion on anything? If the answer is “no” or “not really,” then I ask why we should suddenly decide that their opinions of us matter? I think you will find, as I have, that it doesn’t.
Here are some mindful responses to rude comments:
>> “You are a junkie.”
Correction, I was a junkie.
>> “Filthy drug addict!”
Actually, I’m quite clean these days.
>> “You are worthless.”
Not today, Satan!
Learning to let the insults slide right on by is one of the more important skills I ever had to learn. Now, nobody is perfect. I am guilty of saying some truly rotten things in the past. Most of the insults I received were well deserved (at the time), so perhaps that was part of my penance for being guilty of throwing out quite a few insults myself.
Our words have weight. That’s another thing I had to learn the hard way.
I paid the price for living that way many times over, but I’m not going to pay it anymore.
So, I offer this golden response to anyone who is being insulted over their history:
“That’s not me anymore. Your words are wasted on me.”