Stick and Stones Break Bones but Harmful Words Cause Real Damage

All of us have heard harmful words at one time or another.  Go to any family wedding as a single person, go to any baby shower as a childless couple and chances are good that your Great Aunt Margie will ask “When are you going to settle down?”

The only answer I could come up with is “Bitch, I thought we were friends”

Listen to what she is asking me.  WHY would I want to settle down?  Personally, when I find that person I dig, I want to rev it up, get my freak on.  Settling down is a terrible idea to plant in a single person’s head.  It was for me anyway.   People are sleeping on the power of their words.  In so many ways.

How many of us have been affected by harmful words someone said to us as a child?  I’m just going to assume that everyone’s hand is up.

Seven year old Cara is at swim camp.  On day one they are teaching the Dead Man’s Float.  Please don’t let me get into WHY we have to learn this.  Won’t our bodies do this automatically when it needs to? Anyway, it’s her turn to demonstrate the DMF.  Having only swam in swimming pools, Cara was uneasy to attempt this in the lake they were in.  She could see the fish and seaweed and plants.  Cara told the camp counselor that she didn’t want to stick her face in the murky water, to which the counselor says, “Too bad”. 

Cara starts to bend down, and as her face hovered just above the water, she blurted out in tears,  “ I can’t!”

COUNSELOR: ”Oh, OK Cara. Cara I can’t. That’s what we will call you from now on”.  Hahahaha everyone laughed. Hilarious. A harmless nickname.  The only problem is that, present day, Cara is my client.  Cara is now 61.  These words still haunt Cara.  Cara backs down from challenges because she refers to herself as “Cara I Can’t”  when the going gets rough. 

It’s not even the words that we say to each other,

don’t get me wrong, they can be shitty, but the real problem lies in the words we use with ourselves.  Our own inner dialogue. 

I’m so fat.  I look so old.  My hair looks terrible.  I have more wrinkles every day.  Look at her.  She is so thin.  What a great body.  I love her hair.  She is so youthful.

We will say the nicest things about COMPLETE strangers and insult ourselves.  This negative self talk is nothing but destructive. 

Imagine if you said positive and encouraging things to yourself.  You have to start somewhere in order to change that wiring in your brain.  The wiring that allows you to think that you are not equal to everyone else.  The wiring that has you quitting before you even try. 

Every time I compliment someone, I make it a point to compliment myself.  It reminds me of my strengths and keeps my focus on all the good things that I love about myself.  I am loving more and more of myself every day and it takes work! Consistency.  Awareness.  I wish for everyone to feel this way. I wish for everyone to make sure that someone else is feeling good about themselves also.  We are all connected.  Let’s be high vibing, happy and fulfilled!  Use the power of words for good and not evil. For everyone’s sake, including yours. 

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Mary C. Smith

Smart, funny, honest, practical and sometimes in-your-face advice on relationships, being single, and self care. Catch her radio show GenXtra Sundays at 11 on