Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Power of Words: Personal Responsibility

We’ve been hearing a lot about Rush Limbaugh and other personalities that have used defamatory and degrading language against women.  Bill Maher is an example from the other side of the political spectrum.  Thanks to the wonderful thing that is the 1st amendment, we have the freedom to say things, but there are responsibilities that go along with the words we choose.  Words are powerful and have consequences, both intended and unintended.  We must accept those consequences, and we must think carefully about what we want to say.  I discussed this at length last week.

That being said, I’d like the present the other side of things.  As the person on the receiving end of harsh insults, we feel hurt and angry.  It’s all too easy to take insults to heart, especially if we hear them enough.  That’s why children who are bullied often experience low self-esteem.  You hear something said about you often enough, you start to believe it.

However, there comes a point when you need to take responsibility for who you are and how you feel about yourself.  Words injure, but only if we let them.  Half the power that words have comes from the person on the receiving end.  It makes no sense to yield all power to a bully by letting their word s damage you.  Try to be strong.  Stand up for yourself by refusing to believe what they say.  Show them that they’re wrong and that they won’t break you.

Half the time, the person tearing you down doesn’t really know you.  If they don’t know you, why should they play a role in defining you?

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Sadly a lot of us (including me) still let peoples' judgments jab a little too far under the skin. Joel Osteen actually said a quote once that I say to myself when I'm starting to feel down about someones cruelty: "...they minimize to equalize". All too true.