The obvious truth is words have meaning. Of course they do. This is why we use them. We use words to convey a thought or express a feeling. We use words to communicate and interact.
Words have meaning.
I agree. But what’s in a word?
I think this is an interesting question.
One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from one of my favorite authors, Robert Fulghum who said, “Stick and stones may break my bones but words can break my heart.”
I understand the need to thicken the skin. I understand that there are people who are perceived as “Too sensitive.” At the same time, this can be considered a predatory world, which means there are predators and there is prey.
I can tell you that, with all certainty, I have met some tough people in this world. I have seen people who can lift incredible amounts of weight. I have witnessed physical strength that appeared to be beyond compare. I have sat with people who are physically capable of nearly anything; yet, as strong as they are, I have seen them weakened by words from other people.
I have seen people strive to be the best only to stand in the face of critical unacceptance and be struck to their weakest posture.
I have watched people withstand and bear the world, as if they could endure anything – but beneath them is a layer. Beneath them is the pain which taught them the victory of personal resolve.
The fact is there are all types of bullies in this world. There are physical bullies. There are educational bullies. There are social bullies and there are financial bullies. There are positional bullies and professional bullies and bullies who lurk behind the scenes and shoot passive aggressive arrows, executing others for no other reason than to see them bleed (and not be alone).
There are secretive bullies and outward bullies and those who simply go undetected or unnoticed. For them, this is the only way they can live because otherwise, they would have to face the loneliness of being themselves. What would they have without their tactics?
Although I hear and read about the world we live in and I hear about the call for diversity and inclusion, as we move along on this great conveyor belt I call Project Earth; inclusion is still far to come. I see that unlikeness is still judged and that beyond skin color or culture and more than socioeconomics; this goes beyond a simple lack of tolerance or understanding. No, there is much more to this.
Mean people do mean things.
I have seen this (and so have you).
I have seen people use words like daggers. They do this to cut deep and to wound the flesh of a person’s heart. I have seen words used to maim the spirit, to impair, to wound, to cripple and kill the efforts of a fellow person just to make them go away. However, the true reason is this is a projection of themselves. This shows that they are unsettled and unsatisfied. In fact, the best suggestion here is when someone shows you who they are, believe them.
As I see it, there are people in this world who look to stop others from moving forward. There are those who look to stop others from growing or succeeding. And ah, the mighty pen. Ah, the mighty words on social media and the cyberbully cutthroats who exist behind computer screens. They are dangerous.
They come in all kinds. This is not racially specific. This is not specific to gender or age, belief or culture. In fairness, I could argue this is something that could be attributed to a person’s mental health. Why else would someone stoop so low?
Let’s put this to a simple question: do happy, good-hearted people look to shoot down the life, efforts or dreams of somebody else?
Socrates said, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
Dhar Mann said, “When your foot slips you can always recover your balance but when your tongue slips you can never recover your words.”
How amazing would this world be if we all tried to honor Mann’s thought?
Slander proves more about the person who uses this and the act of slander is actually a theft of services. This robs a person of their dignity. This stunts the growth of a person’s human spirit. In a professional setting, this could kidnap the possibilities of a person’s future; but to some people, that’s the point.
So, if the question is what’s in a word?
The answer is intention.
However, words cannot (and should not) be given the ability to rob us from our intention. In fact, words are only as valuable as our investment.
Hurtful people do hurtful things. And I agree, this can be a painful distraction. I agree that there are mean-spirited people in this world.
Furthermore, I agree that even this entry is filled with energy that coincides with the catabolic nature of bullies and people who use slander.
By definition, catabolic energy breaks down substance whereas anabolic energy is constructive, nurturing and promotional.
Here’s a question: What kind of person enjoys hurting another life or destroying someone by defaming them?
Here’s another question: What kind of person hears this but chooses to endure and responds without words; but instead, they continue to grow, move, and stay consistent and persistent with their program of living?
The answer: A hero.
The fact that we get out of bed and the fact that we get up and move; and the fact that we dress up, show up, and the fact that we chose not to quit is the most heroic act that any person can take.
Please believe me.
No one is going to stop the world for us. Nobody is going to pause the scene if we can’t keep up. Life does not come with a rewind button. There are no do-overs and there is no sequel.
There was a time in my life when my finances were poor. I was on the phone with the mortgage company and humbled to the tone of a hard conversation.
I just hung up with a friend who told me that I needed to stop and think. This person was religious. They told me that I needed to pray for help. And at the time, I did.
Seconds later, the phone rang. It was the mortgage company.
I explained the previous phone conversation. I mentioned the discussion and the suggestion to pray for help as a means to show a human side to my problem. However, the representative on the phone was unmoved.
The bank didn’t seem to care about my prayers. However, it was recommended that I pray for some money. And for the record, I managed to save my house. This took work. This took decisions and dedication, effort and endurance, but I learned to work through it.
There was an organization that told me I would never make a dent in what I want to do with my life. They said that I would never be successful; that I would never earn money and that I would never go beyond a certain point. They would have been right, if I chose to believe in them.
The person who told me this could have been right about me if I chose to invest in their words. But instead, I had to choose and invest in myself.
I can say that I am familiar with the pains of loss and failure. I am familiar with slander and corporate bullies. I am familiar with cutthroats. Like many others here on Project Earth, I have knife wounds in the back. And if I’m being honest, it would be dishonest of me to say that I never did this to anyone else. However, as time moved on, I learned that I could get ahead on my own. I learned that character assassinations are dangerous and that if you throw someone under the bus, just remember it gets cold out there and karmic debt is always anxious to pull its trick. A life like this puts you on a contract. And contracts like this come with cold, hard facts. So, be careful because a life like this can be cold and you never know who will use you for firewood, just to keep warm.
My resolve has taught me that I have legs to stand beneath me. I have the resolve to push forward. I have the ability to adapt and adjust and to keep going. If the answer to the question of “What’s in a word,” is intention, then it is my responsibility to strengthen my intention to keep going, no matter what.
I agree with Fulghum. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can break my heart.
Unless, I choose otherwise.
Words might break our heart because no one is impenetrable.
But nothing can break our spirit – unless we allow it.
But not today.
Not on our watch.