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Sticks and Stones

Excerpt from Chapter 8 - Thinking

On the playgrounds of our youth, we all heard the old words, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Unfortunately, today many societal groups seem intent upon claiming that words also always hurt me as well as sticks and stones. Whoever believes that gets to feel hurt a lot and always at the whim of some person out there. Personal power is non-existent.

It has only been in recent years that there has developed significant questioning of a hurt response to such verbal slings and arrows. In the gay/lesbian movement there has been much recent discussion over the words "fag" and "queer" with many of the younger generation of gays and lesbians claiming those labels publicly. (Young blacks sometimes calling each other "nigger" has been a parallel development). By so doing, such gays and lesbians are increasing their self-esteem as well as making it impossible for homophobic bashers to bother them with words. This is healthier and happier than getting hurt every time certain people get upset and try to make themselves feel better by calling others names. The process of name-calling is usually based upon not feeling OK and name-callers try to make themselves feel OK by using the process.

If I call you a name and get you upset, then I temporarily feel more powerful because I have affected you. My self-esteem rises at your expense. I project my unhappiness on to you, and you take it on if you allow yourself to be hurt. If you do not get upset at my attempt, then I cannot dump my original unhappiness on you; and I am left not only with my failure to successfully dump it on you but also with my original unhappiness to boot. Therefore, if you get successful at not being bothered by my words, then I wind up unhappier and I will quickly stop those words. This is a key element to understand, that name-callers will generally feel worse if you do not react to their name-calling. They will therefore be much quicker to stop such behavior than if you get upset.

Whenever you hear such a name directed your way, thoughts along the lines of, "The name-caller is feeling weak at the moment" will help to prevent taking on the name. Another concept to think to yourself is that, "Whatever people say about me says nothing about me but a lot about them." We would be happier, feel more self-esteem and change the world dramatically if we all thought the following, "If I get upset by someone calling me a name, then I have given away my personal power and I have therapy work to do."

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


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Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Symptoms of disability include bodily dysfunctions, emotional dysfunctions, thinking difficulties, spiritual belief difficulties, communication problems and undesirable behavior (all important therapy "stuff" discussed in the next few chapters). Because we are integrated beings, our dysfunctions are all interconnected."