When Words Hurt

inner beauty

This has been a weird month for some reason.  Out of the blue, with no hint or preview, I was reminded that I am not physically a beautiful person by two separate and unrelated people.  I have been working on not caring what people think of me, but these words hurt.  I tried to brush them off, especially since they were said by people who barely know me but they stayed in my brain and continued to erode away any confidence I had.

I am not sure why these things were said or if I did something to bring them on.  But after stewing over the hurtful words for a couple of days, I have learned a few lessons from the experience.

Firstly, I am reminded that words do indeed hurt.  You can either build someone up with words or completely devastate them.  I knew from past mistakes that this is true, but maybe I needed a refresher course in the evils of a wayward tongue.  Even something said in jest can be hurtful.  I do not want to be that person, I want to be the one who lifts people up.  There is just not enough of that in this world today.

Secondly, I am reminded that no matter how tough I say I am on the outside, I am still affected by other people’s opinions.  That is really a lost cause.  Unless the person is someone who is close to me or someone I care about, I should take the words with a grain of salt.  I should remember that everyone these days has an opinion about everything, including my looks apparently, and they are very willing to share that opinion.  I cannot control or censor what they say, but I can control how I take those words and process them.  Sitting by myself, depressed and lingering over the words is not the choice I want to make when something is said to me.  Can I use the words said to better myself?  If so, then I need to do it and if not, I need to let them wash down the drain like dirty dishwater.

Thirdly, I sometimes forget how easy it is to judge a book by its cover.  I know that is so very clique, but it is true.  I was judged harshly by my cover by people who do not know me.  True beauty comes from a generous and kind heart, it comes from a place of humanity and concern for others, and it comes from a million or so lessons learned the hard way.  Beauty is not skin tone, hair color, fingernail length….it is how you live your life when no one is paying any attention.  It is about how you treat people and how you handle situations.  I forget that for a few days.  I am now reminded of it.

I may not be a beauty by the world’s standards and that is okay.  Looks do not last, they fade like the sunlight at dusk.  I do not want to be remembered for how tiny my pores are or how silky my hair is (neither of which is true of me by the way).  I want to be remembered for trying to become a better person.  I still have a long way to go, but I am, at least, trying.  Does that make me beautiful?  I do not know and, frankly, I am not worried about it.  As Dr. Seuss points out, “I am who I am.” (or maybe it was Popeye.)

I am glad the words were said because it made me lose my confidence for a few days.  It reminded me of a place where I no longer wanted to be.  It was a place of sadness and inner conflict.  That is a place I left behind and it should stay behind.  That place has no place in my present.  I learned that I can be hurt, but there is always something to learn from the sting.  For that I am thankful.

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