I remember, when I was a kid, the standard response to a mean comment was,”Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It was our way of saying that other people weren’t in charge of our feelings, we are. It was our way of taking the power away from bullies.
That little rhyme is empowering. We will not let petty words hurt us. We know who we are and your opinion of us won’t change that. Words can’t hurt us unless we let them and we won’t let them.
That rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” doesn’t accuse anyone. It doesn’t hurt back. It just refuses to let words hurt. That is what my goal is, and that is what I want for my kids.
We need to put on our emotional armor, and become immune to hurtful words. No one can make us insecure. No one can make us sad. We are in charge of our feelings and we will not give that power to bullies. But how do we put on that armor?
How to make sure words will never hurt us:
- Be nice to yourself, you are beautiful, and you are important. No one has the right to say bad things about you including you. The more confident you are the less other people’s words effect you.
- Realize that the unkind things people say are a much better indicator or who they are and what is going on with them in their life than it is about you.
- Surround yourself with good friends and positive people.
- Keep a journal of good things so that you can remember them when someone says something unkind.
- Understand that it happens to everyone. No matter how kind, beautiful, smart, talented you are, there will be someone who will say something unkind to or about you. If someone says you are ugly, remember that same thing has been said about every one of the most beautiful people in our society. If someone says you are stupid, you are in the company of people like Einstein and Abraham Lincoln. If someone says you aren’t talented, Vincent Van Gogh was told that as well.
This seems to be forgotten to often in our society, other people can’t hurt our feelings unless we let them. Don’t let them. Let’s put our big girl panties back on and take back control of our feelings. Sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us!
When my kids were growing up, I taught them this lesson by reading the book You Are Special by Max Lucado. I still read that book to my kids when they are feeling sad. I really recommend that book to help kids learn not to let other people’s opinion effect their self esteem.