Rising Above: Healing the Wounds of Hurtful Words

Growing up, the saying “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never harm me” echoed in my ears, meant to offer solace in the face of peoples hurtful words. However, I soon realized its inadequacy in capturing the true impact of words on our emotional well-being. They indeed did hurt. Words possess a profound power—they shape our perceptions, define our self-worth, and deeply influence our emotional state.

Understanding the significance of words is highlighted through Gary Chapman’s theory of love languages, where words of affirmation rank as the second largest love language. This features the crucial role words play in human relationships—they have the ability to uplift, encourage, and affirm our worth. Conversely, when wielded carelessly or maliciously, they can inflict wounds that cut deep beneath the surface.

I vividly recall moments when hurtful words made me doubt my value and sense of belonging. One instance, in particular, stands out—a person I trusted and cherished spoke slanderous lies behind my back to someone I deeply cared for. The shock and devastation were overwhelming, and even though the lies weren’t believed (Thank God), the negative emotions persisted. It served as a stark reminder of the immense power words hold, especially when they come from those we hold dear. And deep down I know the relationship will never be the same again.

Yet, beyond the pain lies an opportunity for growth and healing. Why? Because we must! It’s a chance for us to delve into our emotions, understand the wounds inflicted, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and resilience. This journey begins with acknowledging the depth of our feelings (How bad does it hurt?) and allowing ourselves the grace to process the pain in a healthy and constructive manner.

Whether through journaling to untangle our thoughts, finding solace in moments of silence to connect with our inner selves or our faith, seeking guidance from a coach or therapist, or leaning on the unwavering support of loved ones, it’s essential to create the space needed to grieve and ultimately heal from the wounds caused by hurtful words.

Challenging the damaging beliefs implanted by hurtful words is crucial for reclaiming our sense of self-worth and dignity. We must actively counteract the negative narratives that may have taken root within us, reminding ourselves of our inherent value and resilience. This involves setting clear boundaries to protect our emotional well-being and recognizing when it’s necessary to distance ourselves from toxic relationships, prioritizing our healing and growth. In my previous blog, I discussed the significance of where people stand in your journey through life. Oftentimes, those who were once closest to you, your front row companions, or ride-or-dies, find themselves relegated to the parking lot or even on the other side of I-95.

As we embark on this journey of healing, let’s not forget the importance of self-compassion and forgiveness. Extending grace to ourselves and others acknowledges our shared humanity and imperfections. While forgiveness is a powerful tool, it’s also essential to remember. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting the hurtful words or the pain they caused; rather, it’s about releasing their hold on us and choosing to move forward with compassion and grace.

In conclusion, may you find strength in adversity and courage in pain, knowing that healing is attainable. Though it may require time and effort, with faith, forgiveness, and empathy, we can rise above the hurt and discover inner peace. Remember, while words may leave lasting scars, they do not define us. We are resilient beings capable of healing and growth. By embracing our inner strength and worth, we reclaim our dignity and sense of self, transcending the pain of hurtful words.