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Whoever coined the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” needs to get a time machine and visit the 21st century, because I’m sure a lot of kids and parents would have a bone to pick with him (or her).
I know I do.
When I was in middle school, I went through severe bullying. Although I was never physically hit, the kids would do all sorts of things like prank call me and call me names. I developed so many issues because that name-calling that I still deal with to this day. There are young kids out there committing suicide because of the names their peers are calling them.
It wasn’t until my mother took me aside when I talked to her about a college roommate (whom I’ll call Alex for the sake of anonymity) who thought it was fun to poke fun at me and make rude comments said to me, “Poor Alex. She has to bring you down to make herself feel better,” that I realized
I’ve said in this post that being honest is key to living from the heart, and I firmly believe that. I am the first to admit that I tend to say what’s on my mind, but I’ve learned that there is a time and place for honesty. I’m gradually learning to train myself so that I don’t vomit my thoughts before thinking.
Here are some things that I’ve found to be helpful in my journey:
Write in a Journal
I’ve kept a journal since I was about 7, and I love it. Paper doesn’t talk back to you; it’s open and blank, and it doesn’t judge you. Writing down your feelings may also help clarify your thinking process. I always feel good after I write down my feelings, no matter how ugly they are. It feels exhilarating to have the weight lifted off your shoulders. My coach had me do this recently as I started my journey of forgiveness, and I discovered a lot of emotion that I had been been bottling up.
Ask Yourself Questions
What do you hope to gain in telling this person what you’re about to say?
What do they gain from it? (i.e.: is it helpful?)
Does it contribute to the conversation?
Do they need to hear this?
In this day and age where we are connected to our smartphones and social media, it’s difficult to do, but you can learn a lot from a person’s tone of voice and body language. Look for those cues and use them to consider if you really need to say what’s on your mind.