I remember this day as clearly as it could ever be. It was 10 years ago. I was in high school and of course my self esteem was really low. After school on that sunny day, I decided to wait behind with a couple of students to play soccer. Well that day, we were not many enough to play the full field match, so a sizeable number of us went home. I stayed behind being the full fledged soccer lover that I was and still am.
We decided to play and score in one goal post with a permanent, neutral goal keeper. The aim of the game was simple, the side with the highest amount of goals wins. It was then time for the captains to pick who was going to play on their team. I am such a talented player, I believe I was the best player in the entire school (In my dreams of course). So I didn’t get selected in any team. I was on the sideline, I had to watch the game and not play. I was probably going to get into the game when someone got tired or injured. This automatically gave me a new leadership position: “The ball boy!”
It was my job to pick up the ball, whenever the selected players played a wayward shot. Or there was a clearance that went far away. I did the job with joy (I didn’t have a choice, I would have loved to be playing and not doing the ball getter job). Somewhere along the line as the game went on, the ball came towards me, and I was meant to kick it back to the player that was meant to throw the ball in. I hit the ball, but it was too short. My colleague walked forward and picked up the ball, he then said “What can you do? You can’t even play football. You are just like a Rottweiler dog with your pointy ears. Rot Rotty!” My oh my.
That statement had a huge effect on me, I couldn’t even laugh it off. I remember going back to check the mirror everyday, to look at myself and then my ears too. I always asked myself “Do I really look like a dog?” There was no one to reply the right answers to me. Those words worked negative wonders to my self esteem. It was terrible that someone would have likened me to a dog. Of course, I was not best of friends with the guy that said it, neither did I try to befriend him after the incident. It was 10 years ago, and here I am now still painting you the picture of that scenario. “Why?” You ask. It’s because words carry power!
“Sticks and stones, may break my bones, but words would never hurt me” is a popular quote. But it is a big lie! Words can hurt more than sticks and stones. Words have broken many hearts, just words. I was very affected by the casual words a class mate would have forgotten he ever said. I’m sure if he is reading this article now, he would have no idea it is him. He said those words casually and it took me many years to be able to overcome the perception those few words gave me of myself.
Words are easy to say, but you just don’t know how deep a mark it could make on who it’s spoken to.
Have you been treated harshly with wrong words at all in your life? Do you know how it feels to be at the other end of words that should have never been spoken to you? Well you may understand my experience. It’s not just a joke, it was a reality. May I plead with you today to forgive any one that has said the wrong words to you, words that you would never forget, words that put you down and totally made you unstable. Sometimes it goes way beyond the words said to the person who said the words. It’s most painful if the harsh and unfair words come from those who you truly love or respect. You are beautiful, you cannot be stopped, you are not like a dog, you are not your past, you are not a failure, you are not a fool and you are surely not a mistake.
As I was typing this article, a friend put up a picture with a quote that reads: “A wise man once said nothing“. He was a wise man, because he understood the level of power his words carried. He’d rather keep quiet, than deal a huge blow to someone with his words, and keep the person locked up in a mental prison. I see too many people not caring anymore about the after effects of their words. You can’t afford to even joke with some words, it could hit a really soft spot. You can’t tell someone they are the dumbest people you’ve ever met, then later say you were just kidding. I can’t cut you with a knife, watch you bleed and then say I was joking. Even if I was, you’ll have a wound to treat, and probably a scar to show afterwards. Your words are very important, whether positive or negative.
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. – James 3:2
This is very simple, we can fail in many ways (which we all do), but someone who is never at fault with what they say is PERFECT. You can learn how to not be at fault in what you say, it can be learnt. It may not be easy because sometimes it may mean having to keep quiet even when you have the points to reply and have the best say or make yourself feel better than the other person. We all must learn to do better with our words, the more truthful, helpful and positive they are, the better for all of us. You know what to do…
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