As an interesting aside, when looking for the EXACT words from this little ditty, I discovered that there are quite a few variations.
Perhaps this is less a debate than a discussion, because I see both sides, but let’s shoulder on, here.
Words Can And Will Hurt
Well, yeah. I mean, I’ve been hurt by words, and I’ve done a fair piece of hurting myself, intentionally and non.
Once, when I was being silly and overdramatic about someone (as I often do with close friends), I said, “What if he rips my heart out of my chest, throws it on a dirty floor and stomps until it is ground to dust?”
My bestie said, “I didn’t know you had a heart.”
Because that is one person I’d spent (at the time) 25 years of my life trying to be the best friend I ever could.
- It hurt because I was afraid it was true.
- It hurt because his opinion matters to me.
- It hurt because I was vulnerable anyway. Even though I was overdramatizing in a silly fashion, the original reason for that was valid.
People have said all manner of things about me. Apparently, I’ve even been the target of several hate groups here on Fet. People told me about them. I was a bit hurt. I didn’t read, because I didn’t want to be hurt more.
Words Don’t And Won’t Hurt
The idea of the title rhyme is that words shouldn’t hurt, right? Or that we shouldn’t be hurt by them.
I mean no one thinks that we CAN’T be hurt by words, or there wouldn’t need to be a reminder.
Well, I’m not a fan of the word “should.” It’s incredibly judgy, even when or especially when we turn it on ourselves. I’ve hear the phrase, “Should-ing all over yourself,” and I think it’s pretty accurate.
That said, there is a point to be made, learning that people’s words reflect them more than they define us, and that small-minded people or bullies are not worth listening to.
So, in the case of the bestie above, I had to stop and examine what hurt me. Once I did, I realized:
- It wasn’t true. I am a VERY good friend to him.
- It wasn’t even his opinion of me, but a joke and commentary on his own life view at that point.
- And whatever was going on made it seem more than it was.
So, no more hurt. But I still remember it. Like the time I broke my ankle or was hit by a car.
When people I don’t know say things that hurt me, I examine them and ask:
- Is this true, or could it be true?
- Is it my failure at communicating?
- Are they someone whose opinions I care about in other matters or respect?
- Are they generally mean and spiteful?
Those questions often mean I don’t really feel hurt. Not after I’ve paused a moment.
And I think perhaps this is what the rhyme is intended for.
That said, some people claim that words should never hurt. That actions matter more.
As someone who uses my words, sometimes to hurt or to shock someone to the present about a real issue, I’m not sure I agree that ALL words should slide by without effect, or without hurt.
Hurt, like many other feelings, is a sign that there is something not going right, and worth paying attention to, in my opinion.
What do you think?
Do words hurt you? SHOULD they? Why or why not?