Words: they’re the backbone of all human communication. Yet most of us don’t realise the power words have – both when said to ourselves, or others.
Words can encourage, comfort, and bring great joy, but they can also hurt, humiliate and harm. So it’s important to choose them wisely!
Like Mish talked about in her Wonder Woman blog post against negativity, sometimes it’s how we interpret words that gives them power. Even if someone does mean to hurt you with words, it’s how you react that makes all the difference.
These tips may help you ignore those not-so-nice comments:
1. Know it has nothing to do with you
How many times have you said (or thought) something about someone purely because you were in a bad mood, or had a bad day? Something you later realised was not true at all.
Know that at some point, you might be the punching bag for someone else’s bad day, and try not to take everything said to you to heart (I know it’s hard!).
2. Accept that you cannot control anyone but yourself
Acknowledging this allows such a huge amount of relief, and allows you to simply Let. It. Go. Everyone has an opinion. Just because someone has an opinion about you doesn’t mean it’s true.
3. Make sure your words aren’t hurtful
Don’t be the one dishing out those mean words. You may regret it later.
4. Try to avoid exaggerations
We’ve all been enraged or hurt and start a tirade of phrases like “You NEVER do the dishes” or “You ALWAYS say that to me” or “I NEVER get invited to anything with you anymore!”
In most cases, this isn’t true at all, so try to keep to the truth: “I get frustrated when you leave dishes in the sink”, or “When you say that to me, I feel hurt” or “I feel left out when you don’t invite me to things.” Stick to the facts.
5. Speak with kindness and respect
The old adage of treating others as you would wish to be treated rings true here.
Saying things just to hurt someone else is a common way to make yourself feel better, but it’s a short term victory, and usually leaves you feeling more empty than before.
6. When in doubt, close your mouth!
Leave the room. Go for a walk around the block. If you’re on the phone, tell the person you’ll call them back. Anything you need to do to get distance from the space and situation, do it.
In the heat of the moment most of us aren’t thinking clearly, and even a five or ten minute breather will allow you to gain some perspective and get that heart rate down.