“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Is that how the saying goes? I am not entirely sure about the history of this saying but nothing can be further from the truth. Words hurt, sometimes more than a beating, and their immense power is that, more times than we wish, they remain ingrained in our brains and corrode our motivation and self trust.
Alongside “don’t take it personally”, “I didn’t mean it that way” is another phrase people use as a go to scenario when they are called on something mean or demeaning that they throw at you. I didn’t mean to be mean so that means that you need to discount it. Heck no!
How about we set the intention to remember that words stick, and hurt, sometimes more than stones? How about we remember that everyone we know is fighting a hard battle and run with the exercise of looking at people in front of us like they are really doing the best they can? Really, try it, it is the most transformational personal development tool I have ever used: thinking everyone is doing their very best, in the moment, with the circumstances they have, and watch what you say to them.
Does the fact that my set intention was not to crush you or to have you in tears exonerate me from not considering that it might? While I am invited every single day someone “vomits”on me or my team to remember “their intentions are not bad”, I really would like to point the other way and say let’s all consider the effects of our words before we let these fierce tigers escape from the confines of our minds and tongues.