There’s a saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.’ I’ve never liked that saying. I would repeat it as a little kid in response to name calling but the names hurt me…they still do.
Fighting with words is easy. Think about how many times a day you call someone a name. Your co-worker is an idiot, your husband is a jerk, your wife is a nag, the driver in front of you is a moron…the list goes on. We call people names we don’t even know! We gossip behind friends’ backs. We complain about our kids (he’s being a monster today!). We argue with our spouses/loved ones. We use names to describe people’s names we can’t remember or want to remember. ‘Yeah, let’s not even say her name but she’s such a bitch’ or ‘Remember that douche bag you dated, you know, the one with the skinny jeans’. Our brains have become so rooted with this behavior that we don’t even realize how much we do it…or how much it hurts others.
Why do we do this? No really, why? I remember being picked on in grade school for having a beauty mark on my face. I got made fun of, especially by the boys. I would come home and cry. It was terrible. I distinctly remember a guy in high school telling one of my friends “She would be pretty if she didn’t have that on her face.” Awful. But honestly, those comments don’t even compare to how and what people can say to each other nowadays. When I went to school, there was only three ways to call someone a name: to their face, behind their back or in a note (yes, a handwritten note). I couldn’t make it my Facebook status, tweet it, text it, email it, Snapchat a picture of it or any of the other ways in which technology has given us to be bigger assholes (yep, I just called everyone assholes!).
The worst part about the way the world of name calling has evolved is how public it’s become. Everything is shared. And it’s not shared out of love, care or concern, it’s shared out of angry, spite and hate. Heck, even celebrities get in word battles via ‘Twitter’. Can’t you just have your agents call each other? No, why would you do that? Let’s just share updates for all to see because you need everyone to know who you’re arguing with (this goes for us non-famous people as well).
We’ve become a self-absorbed society. We post and say whatever is on our mind. In fact, I’m doing that right now! We share and over-share then share some more. Don’t get me wrong, sharing is great, but when its negative, what’s the point?
We fight with words. We fight privately. We fight publicly. We hurt. We hurt others. Why do we continue this cycle? Why can’t we just stop? Because here’s the thing…sticks and stones will break our bones…and names will really hurt us. We are all humans, struggling with our own battles and trying to figure out our own lives. We don’t need criticism, we need compassion. It’s easy to put a label on someone…the way I called everyone assholes. The real challenge is to stop yourself from doing so.
There’s another saying I recall from my childhood, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s easy to word vomit (thank you Lindsay Lohan in ‘Mean Girls’) a name to someone. It’s not easy to undo. Because the thing about the words we speak is that even though we can apologize, even though we can say we didn’t mean them, they were said. And as much as you try, you can’t take them back. No one is perfect, we fight, we forgive and we move on, or at least, we try to. But the next time you go to call anyone a name, think about what you’re really saying before you do so. How will that name affect them? You? Your situation? Your relationship?
Calling someone a name is like getting a mosquito bite. It’s quick when it happens but we’re left with a sting, an itch. There’s a mark…temporarily. We can still feel it for a few days, it bothers us, maybe it really bothers us, but eventually it goes away. There is no scar. But just because there isn’t a scar, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Challenge yourself to stop the name calling and spread the love.