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  • Writer's pictureBev Martin

Sticks & Stones

They say time is a healer. Time definitely in most situations helps but does it really heal? In my personal experience I would have to say no it doesn’t. It’s a nice enough phrase but when you feel like you’re drowning in hurt or sadness or grief it’s not what you want or need to hear. I think by my age (40) we have all been both the one drowning and the one wanting desperately to offer a loved one a lifeline in words or a way of easing their pain.

Another term I’ve heard a lot is ‘there’s always somebody worse off’ or ‘there’s nothing bad that couldn’t be worse’ Honestly, these expressions wind me up! (My mother would be a classic example of somebody to say this, a ya Mum) I know when these words are used there is nothing but good intention behind them but sometimes it makes my head almost spin off. Now I do realise this is clearly a trigger of something inside me to feel so strongly about it and I have looked at this trigger and I will definitely tell you more about that in another time. The flip side of this is I’m one hundred percent guilty of using similar words myself at times, oh the joy of human nature in all it’s contradictory glory!

While these words when they are used are often true and the person using them is coming from a good place for the receiver, these words can seem dismissive of how they are feeling or what it is has them feeling bad or low or angry or whatever is going on with them. I mean of course there are usually worse things happening in the world but whatever we are experiencing and feeling is personal to us. If ya feel like crap ya feel like crap and that’s all there is to it. There is no way of measuring a persons inner pain so when ya feel something just allow yourself to do so. Let well meaning irritating as hell words wash over you and have a good cry if you need to. It’ll be alright in the morning! Ah here we go again!! Although to be fair the one thing about this is that the mornings can remind us that after the darkness of night the light will always come again. Sticks and Stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me. I remember hearing this a lot as a child. I googled these words...... "Sticks and Stones" is an English-language children's rhyme. The rhyme is used as a defense against name-calling and verbal bullying, intended to increase resiliency, avoid physical retaliation and to remain calm and good-living.

sticks and stones may break my bones (but words will never hurt me) A common childhood chant meaning hurtful words cannot cause any physical pain and thus will be ignored or disregarded. I've never been affected by people's criticism—sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Are you kidding me!!?? ‘words will never hurt me’ ‘can not cause physical pain thus will be ignored or disregarded’ ‘never been affected by people’s criticism’....... Hmmmmm, don’t get me wrong I’m not stupid I get where it was coming from but let’s be real words are powerful. ‘intended to increase resiliency, avoid physical retaliation and to remain calm and good-living’ ...... Wow. Again I get the point but no! Sticks and Stones is a place to eat in the city and words, words can most definitely hurt me. Words can be like weapons of mass destruction of your soul. As children we say things with innocence and little or no awareness of how our words can be received. We are not children anymore and it is time to become conscious of our words not only to others but to ourselves.

We as human beings and especially women give ourselves a desperately hard time. My friends and I recognise this all the time about ourselves and one another. We constantly remind each other to not give ourselves such a hard time yet do we remember it ourselves enough? Our bodies, our flaws, our abilities as mothers, our performance at work, whatever it is, we need to go easier on ourselves. Not just in our talk that comes from our mouths but the talk we have inside our minds. How many times do we criticise or chastise ourselves in our thoughts on a daily basis. If you really stop and think about it our inner voice can be brutal. I have been pulled up on my self talk by a few people over the years, even my son has reminded me I’m not ‘a moron’ when I’m flapping about the house behaving like a lunatic giving off to myself for something. Each time I bring my awareness to it I remember it’s self sabotage. Our subconscious minds control a huge amount of us, our patterns and behaviours for example. It doesn’t know the difference between lies and truth and just absorbs everything like a sponge. Actually quite like a child. Remember I’m no psychologist or scientist my words are just what I’ve learned and come to believe. When we were children we absorbed everything around us, behaviours, words, energy, language, the list goes on. We took it all in. And we stored it. We carry these things into adulthood and we bring them into all parts of our lives, especially relationships, with others and with ourselves. Working on my own self talk is something I think I’ll always be reminding myself of. I don’t claim to have it sorted by any means but I am always trying. Changing the patterns of a lifetime doesn’t usually happen over night.

The relationship we have with ourselves is one we don’t always remember the importance of. We must find patience and compassion for our inner beings. We all make mistakes and we all have regrets but we must accept these things about ourselves. It’s ok to be on top of things one day but not so on the ball the next day. Life is hectic so how about telling ourselves we’re doing great for a change. As I mentioned in a previous piece (New Year Resolution for your Soul) about looking in a mirror and seeing things you love about yourself, let’s recognise the fact that we’re absolutely rocking this life gig for and change and tell ourselves! Out loud or quietly in your mind. Whatever works. How about we do an experiment over the next few days.....If you catch yourself being a bit hard on yourself just simply recognise it. Become aware of it. It sounds so simple, and it is but most days do we really bring enough awareness to ourselves. Usually we think before we speak to others especially a child. If there was a child in listening distance from you you’d be carful what you say, true? Yet we become so careless what we say to ourselves. We are so busy being adults we often forget about our own inner child. What if we were to recognise our inner child and give it the same conscious awareness, care and protection you would offer any child. If you feel you’d like to keep note somewhere of how many times you catch yourself being less than loving to yourself it can be interesting to see it visually. Or throw a pound coin into a jar, put a new twist on the good old swear jar. (I could do with a swear jar to be fair......) There is a lot of language we use that when we really begin to take notice we could change from negative to positive but that’s for another time. For now let’s take a step to using kinder words and thoughts within ourselves. A step closer to a beautiful relationship with yourself. You’re not going anywhere and there isn’t another being on this planet you will spend more time with. Let’s face it we can never escape ourselves so when we are faced with difficult times, moods thoughts or emotions we need to learn to recognise every single moment as part of ourselves and remember everything in life is a lesson. If we could learn to change our self talk to a language of love how nice would that be.

Lots of love to you And to me x Bev x

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