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“They say actions speak louder than words, but in some cases, words hurt a lot more than actions ever could.” ~ Jessamine Verzosa
Many of us were raised with the mantra: sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.
With ideas like “tough love,” “harden up,” “they’re just words,” or “don’t be weak.”
Today, the terminology may be different, but the ideas are just the same. When someone is hurt by words, they now get to be called “a snowflake” or referred to as someone who is mentally weak.
What an invalidating and nasty society we have become.
Here’s the thing: words do hurt. They can be judgmental, they can be cruel, but most of all, these words rarely add any value, and more often than not, they are completely unnecessary.
They are in the schoolyard, they are in the workplace, they are blasted all over social media, and sadly, they are in many homes—bullying, taunting, making nasty comments to a stranger on social media, belittling, judging, condemning. Savage words spoken and written for one purpose, and one purpose only—to bring another person down. To intentionally hurt another.
Why does it happen? Why do people do it?
If we want to get really honest and really look hard at ourselves, people do this because they are insecure, and belittling another human makes them feel better about themselves. They justify their behaviour by believing the target of their brutal words somehow deserves their wrath.
As writers, we pool our feelings, emotions, perceptions, and opinions onto a page, and we put it out there for the world to see. We don’t expect that everyone will agree with what we write, and that’s perfectly okay; respectful comments and challenges are always welcome.
What we don’t expect is to write something, especially of a personal nature, and have some random person not only invalidate any pain or hurt we are expressing, but go one step further to add some hateful comment.
I do want to make it clear that the words that come out of someone’s mouth or are written as some unkind, even spiteful comment, are a direct reflection of that person, and I’m sorry that they need to behave in this way to make themselves feel better or more confident.
We are at a crisis point. We have a mental health epidemic all over the world, and the United States, with their easy access to guns, are watching the implosion firsthand.
And where does it all start? Well, oftentimes, we hear that the shooter is a loner, was bullied. Of course not everyone who is bullied will get a gun and do this, but the reality is it happens. And at the grassroots, we are doing absolutely nothing about it. I can hear the words muttering as I write this: “bullying has always happened,” “kids these days need to toughen up,” “bloody little snowflakes don’t know what the real world is,” “ah the generation that all received a trophy,” and the list goes on.
And that, dear readers, is a big part of the f*cking problem. We need to change these unhelpful embedded beliefs. We need to change the way we speak to people and the way we are addressing bullying. We need to learn how to parent. We need to all take a good look at ourselves and see what we need to address. What behaviours do we need to change? How can we make a difference? Because this sitting on our ass condemning and judging does absolutely nothing to fix the world we are living in.
Most days, I’m horrified to see the nasty, bitter, and hateful comments that are spewed all over social media. I think to myself how can we change younger generations when we have supposedly mature people bullying the crap out of strangers? How can we start raising self-aware, open-minded, kind, and caring humans if they have no self-aware, open-minded, kind, or caring adults in their life to role model?
The answer: we can’t, and the cycle continues. The hate continues. The judgement continues. Mental health continues to decline, and the worst outcome: innocent lives are lost.
I don’t care how old you are, you can make changes. I don’t care how wealthy you are, you can make changes. I don’t care your race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, you can make change. And if you’re sitting there reading this thinking it doesn’t affect you because you’re highly educated and have a background of a certain status, think again—because this affects everyone, and we all have the ability to make changes. We have the ability to do better, want better, expect better, and most of all, be better.
Use your words to make our world a better place, and when you see injustice, use your words to bring forward justice.
If you need to use your words to put another down, hurt another, or bully another, perhaps it’s time to address the insecurities and pain inside of you that cause you to behave in this way.
It saddens me that your suffering is alleviated by making another suffer. Your words do indeed hurt another.
“Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.” ~ Auliq Ice