“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It’s a phrase we all have heard at one point or another in our lives. However, the person who coined this phrase was obviously never in Junior High or High School, or a girl.
Sure, it’s easy to say “words will never hurt me” but let’s be honest for a minute, words do hurt. Sometimes they hurt a lot. There have been many times in my life where I would rather have been punched in the eye than insulted or verbally degraded. At least with a black eye it only hurts for a day or two and once the swelling and discolouration fade, all evidence and pain is gone. Words, however, stick around. Sometimes forever. If you’re a woman (even some men I’ve found), first of all congratulations for surviving into womanhood. Secondly, you know exactly what I mean when I say the phrase, “back stabber”. It’s unfortunate how many of us have been stabbed; worse still, how many of us have been the stabber.
I hate to admit it but I have been a stabber. Yes, I have also been stabbed but I got over it. What I can’t get over and forgive myself for is for being the stabber. For being so close-minded and petty that I prevented or ruined a beautiful friendship over something that was probably not even worth it. Actually it wasn’t worth it because, when I think back to those moments in my life, I can’t remember the why. Just the looks of hurt and pain that my words caused another human being. I hate myself for it.
But why are we like this? Why must we degrade one another to make ourselves feel better? How is it acceptable, especially in womanhood, to use hurtful words towards others to boost our own self confidence? We ought to be ashamed of ourselves, really. This pettiness is ridiculous, and to be honest, disturbing.
I hear the things people say about another. I’ve been in the room when the stabbed walks in to the room full of stabbers. I’ve felt the awkwardness in the air. I’ve seen the look on the persons face when they realize that everyone in the room was just talking “smack” about them. It sickens me. What sickens me most however, is my reaction.
I do nothing. I sit quietly. Awkwardly. I know it’s not my place to say anything and to be honest, if I were to say something I would be next on the list. However, I get this knot in the pit of my stomach when I witness things like that where I know, I need to say something. Not anything degrading or hurtful towards the stabbers, but something that gives them a reality check. I once heard a phrase that made me laugh, “The people who gossip the most, are the ones who are gossiped about the most”. I thought that was intriguing and a bit sad. It’s a vicious cycle that is destined to repeat itself until someone puts a stop to it. Until someone who was sitting in that group, stands up for the victim. Maybe they don’t say anything. Maybe they just stand up quietly and leave. At least that shows the others in the group that they won’t sit there and tolerate such rubbish.
On the flip side however, why do we need acceptance from our peers? Why do we look to others for acceptance? Why do we care so much when we don’t fit in? We go to such great lengths to fit in don’t we? We go so far as to disown others for being different from us. But if we are ever going to put a stop to this, we need to learn to love and accept one another. Not because of our similarities but because of our differences. Our quirks and imperfections are what make us so unique and beautiful. How boring would it be in this world if we all acted the same, looked the same, dressed the same. The world would be a very bland and lame place!
I know it’s cliche to say but, the only person we need to worry about judging us is God. In a hundred years, those women won’t matter. Heck, they won’t even be alive (and neither will you actually)! So why do we care so much about the words others say. Romans 8:31 says it best, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” even though, in this specific verse, Paul was not talking about backstabbing (or maybe he was since he was talking about present sufferings vs. the future kingdom of God), it is still true and can be used in this context. Seriously, if God is for us, who can be against us? The answer, no one. God is all that matters, to be totally honest. Sure, this is not to say we will be immune to the pain and hurt we feel when negative things are said about us, but it can help in coping with such situations. Eleanor Roosevelt said it quite well too, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Another passage, that pretty much sums up everything I wrote, can be found in Leviticus 19. Verse 18 states, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”
I urge you friends, to stop the pettiness and backstabbing. For our sakes. For our daughters’ sake. For everyone’s sake.
I have done my part, now it’s your turn.