Monday, June 1, 2009

Sticks and Stones...

May break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

That is such an untrue statement. I was listening to a radio message the other morning and that was the premise of the message. I got to thinking about how words hastily spoken can cause a lasting effect on someone. I am just as guilty as the next person of wishing I could retract something that I've said. I can't think of anything more more upsetting than to know my tongue has caused someone else pain.

I cannot recreate the pain I felt when I broke my shoulder at age 14. I cannot remember how much pain I was in when I had knee surgery. I do not know exactly how badly my shoulder hurt after I had rotator cuff surgery (although I do remember it was the most painful surgery I've ever had and I've had a few). I cannot precisely pinpoint how I felt after coming out of general anesthesia, during childbirth, or having a cut forehead sutured up. I can however, recreate the emotional pain I felt when told certain things during the same periods in time, and any other time. Human emotion is a strange thing. We're capable of deep feelings; joy, fear, remorse, sadness, exhilaration, contentment, and despair are just a few. Our bodies experience deep feelings as well, but our brains block out the memory of the pain. We remember that we were hurt, we remember that we were uncomfortable, but we don't remember the precise feelings. We would not be able to go on in life and function normally if we were unable to "forget" the exact feelings.

Why, then, are we unable to let go and forget the emotional pain? I don't know but it's something that I frequently struggle with. My goal each day is to be happy and content; to do so is often a choice - both mentally and physically (for body language needs to express contentment). But, just when I think I have a handle on the things in this life, something will trigger a memory, a perceived slight or injustice, and I find myself back in the same situation, reliving the details. Could I have done something differently? Did I really pick up on an actual event, or is my mind playing tricks and reading things that weren't there? Sometimes it is very hard to separate the facts from the fiction. I would think that most of us would not want to embellish negative periods in our life as that would increase the painful feelings. So when we are reliving an event, is it real or is it more perception than reality?

Those are things that we must identify, dissect, and let go of. Negative feelings do nothing for us except fester like a bad infection. The sooner we can cut out (or do away with) the infection, the better we'll be. There are things that I've said that I cannot go back and undo. I can only ask those that I've insulted and hurt to forgive my actions. I can only hope and pray that they do so.

I will do my best to not hurl words at people in the future.

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