Think of the harshest thing that someone has ever said to you. Odds are it happened in a heated moment, perhaps a fight or even a breakup. It’s something you replay hundreds of times because when our minds get stuck on something, getting off that loop feels impossible. Positive things that the person has told you in the past start to feel like they’ve lost their validity and you can’t help but wonder what these new and painful words mean for us.
I had a friend whose long distance boyfriend called her one day and the first thing out of his mouth was, “I’m not coming to visit you anymore and I think we need to be broken up forever. This relationship is clearly situational and I don’t think we have a future together.” That statement hit her like a wrecking ball. It was absolute and it was powerful, leaving no room for interpretation.
In the coming nights, she took a fine-tooth-comb to his tightly bound words and picked them apart looking for anything that could give her clarity or closure. She cried herself to sleep replaying the ruthlessness of his words and the tone in his voice. And as everything started to sink in, she wondered how she would ever un-hear what he said.
When we are on the receiving end of these statements, how do we swallow that hurt, carry those weighted words, and accept something that we don’t want to believe?
It’s at this point that we must remind ourselves of the simplest thing, which is that change is inevitable, time keeps going, and the words will lose their weight.
Words are at their heaviest when they fall from our lips filled with rage, passion, fear, and anxiety. They pierce our souls and circulate—running laps around our minds for hours and hours. At this time, it’s incredibly easy to feel hopeless.
But we forget about the passing of time and what it can do for us.
The first and most challenging thing you must do when someone tells you something you don’t want to hear is accept the statement. Your body and entire being will try to reject what you’ve just heard but you must let those words absorb into your mind, soul, and heart. Let them stay there for a little while and just let them be what they are. As challenging as this first part is, you have to take the person at face value and listen to what they’re saying. If these words mean anything to you, it means you respect this person enough to hear them out.
The next thing you must do is to take a step back and ask yourself how much of this weight is really mine? While you have a responsibility for your actions, you must also keep in check how much of what is being said is a projection of the other person. Your loved one may be in the midst of a stressful time and say something that they don’t really mean. It’s important to be open to what they’re saying, but remember to only take what’s yours to carry.
Lastly, remind yourself of the weight of these words and how this phrase is heaviest it will ever be. While it’s your responsibility to process what they are saying, give yourself a gentle reminder that time has a way of changing everything around us. There are people making self-discoveries, there are new perspectives being given, and there are realizations being made. Everything is constantly changing, evolving, and growing… and that is the hope you get to hold onto.
While we cannot erase or change the past, we can remind ourselves that the future is something that is full of endless possibilities. We must accept our current situations; for that is the only way we will move forward. And while the words themselves won’t change, the weight and the significance that they have in your life eventually will.