What We Really Mean When We Say, ‘Choose Your Words Carefully’

Zach Guinta
Zach Guinta

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

How many times as an eight-year-old kid did you say that? Running around the playground and one of your friends tells you that you smell or you’re not playing nice or you’re dumb. Either way that phrase got less and less true the older we became. Words fucking hurt.

Words said from certain people hurt more. They leave the other persons mouth and simmer in our brains until their poison seeps into our pores, deeper and deeper, until they go from words to our realities. That’s when words are harder than sticks or stones.

I once had a girl ‘friend’ tell me I’d have men fall over themselves if I lost 30 pounds. So what did I do? I lost 45. And when my worst fear was confirmed after a guy told me I’d be even prettier if I lost 15 more was when I realized how shitty words really were. And this coming from someone who absolutely adores words. I mean I’m tattooed all over with them.

But the thing is that people underestimate the power of their words. The power of negative statements. The way one thing we can say off the cuff can exponentially effect another human. We forget that one sentence can change the course of someone’s life. Telling someone they need to lose weight or are stupid or whatever the hell you think is wrong with them in your opinion is just that; your opinion.

The real sad part is that most of the time these things aren’t done maliciously. We think we’re helping the other person if we remind them to not sleep with someone on the first date or how that extra scoop of frozen yogurt will ultimately add to their pain. Maybe we are helping but who the fuck are we to decide what another person does or doesn’t do.

I’m so guilty of this. I do it thinking it’s love and when it happens to me I get offended. I get offended because it hurts. I, like every other person in this world, hate being told I’m less than perfect. It’s not my right to choose how another person lives their life. Does it suck when you see someone hurting themselves? Hell yeah. But there is a different between truly helping someone and hindering them. Unless it’s saving someone’s life by passing judgement on someone then say something. Otherwise how do you know you’re not just causing more damage?

How indirectly I’ve hurt someone to the point that they don’t like a part of themselves. Or how about the words I said intentionally to hurt someone else when they hurt me. What did I do to someone else in order to protect myself from their words?

Yes, we have to choose how we reacted to another person’s words. My mother always told me just to walk away and to not retaliate but the harm is usually done long before I walk away. We can let words roll off our backs but that takes a really strong person to listen to the things that another person dislikes about them and not take it to heart.

I don’t want someone ultimately feeling like shit because of something I said. So words hurt. I think when we fully understand how words affects others is when we know how to choose them carefully. Somethings don’t need to be said. They just don’t. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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