"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me." How many men have heard this phrase and how many more have spoken them? We use it as a metaphor to defend ourselves against verbal assaults or words that we don't take on as descriptive of us. Have we stopped to consider how this little harmless saying plays out in our lives? In all honesty, most every guy I have had the pleasure of working with, sooner or later share how certain words or phrases impacted their development. There were those that had a happy home life growing up and never really heard harsh words directed at them. Then there are those that as far back as they can remember were battered with disturbing and hurtful words. Words that left them with scars so deep that only God can heal them. With this in mind, I direct us back to the "sticks and stones" phrase and ask you again if you really and truly believe words don't impact an individual? Are you aware that we were designed to feel emotional pain and hurt as well? That's correct, emotional pain can feel as deep and as raw as physical pain and in some cases, even more than that. And the root of the emotional hurt? Words! Words that cut deep and imbed scars for ages. Words in the wrong hands can be a dangerous thing and the wrong can bring down a nation. If they can do that, how do we even get to imagine we are stronger than that? Now, if I may I would like to return to my opening statement and bring this more in line with how you feel about it. Maybe you were one of the fortunate ones that had a great and happy growing up life or perhaps you weren't as fortunate but either way, the words we choose to represent what we feel inside does not care which you were, your skin color, your language, or even if you're male or female. No sir, words do not separate us by these things but do display a lot about what's going on inside of us.
A famous King David once wrote these words, "The power of life and death are in the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”. Did you catch that? Do you sense the impact of this statement? In my opinion, it is divided into two parts, the first is that the tongue has the power of life and death. The second, but is more personal as it stipulates that those that love their tongues or rather what comes out of it, will eat of its fruit. Another way to describe this is that all the words we speak are representative of what resides inside of each of us. With this being said, we all at times say things that we really don't mean only to turn around later and have to apologize, which is correct, but it is not easy. It isn't easy especially when we see the hurt our words have just caused someone. It takes great humility to retract such a statement, and when we verbalize something that is damaging it’s hard to later apologize and mend the wound we have caused. Here's a thought, the damage is primarily caused to us first, although we don't immediately recognize it, then we see the external damage we've caused. This is a double whammy on us and the irony is it came from our own lips.
I believe it would be in our own best interest to take on Anthony Liccione's quote, “A fool is made more of a fool, when their mouth is more open than their mind ”. Don't let what and how you speak take over your identity because you are not what you speak during the times of unfettered tirades. The words you choose can bring you down or lift you up, and the power of the tongue can be tamed if you think first and allow yourself to be and stay in control. Remember, nothing or no one has any power over you unless you hand it to them. Once at this point, you may as well begin to prepare your apologies.
I close this with a quote from Kari Kampakis, "Whatever they did, make a pledge. Promise yourself that you'll never treat anyone the way they treated you. This is how you become a kinder and more compassionate person. This is how you learn from their mistakes."