Sticks & Stones: Please Think Before You Speak

I’ve been going through a very difficult time recently. Though I don’t particularly wish to get into the full details of why that is (I will more than likely speak on it when I’m feeling up to it), I will say that I have been dealing with issues involving self-esteem and confidence. Some aspects of my life have not been going very well lately, so it’s been a bit challenging to keep a smile on my face and fight the urge to allow a sense of defeat and hopelessness to knock me out of the game completely.

I sincerely apologize if this or any of my recent posts aren’t cheerful. I often feel very self-conscious about posting when I am not feeling my absolute best because I am the kind of person who wears their feelings on their face and in their speech. It always feels as though I will pollute everything I do by writing happy words in a sad tone, so I typically refuse to post when that is the case.

Despite having started this blog to share all aspects of my personal life, my true desire is to connect with and help uplift others. That being said, I wish every post could be nothing but sunshine, rainbows and kittens. However, this post isn’t going to be any of those things. For that, I am very sorry. All the same, I come bearing a very sincere request for all who may stumble upon today’s post and read it: Please think before you speak. You never know what the person you are speaking to is truly going through.

Earlier today I decided to go out with some individuals. As I’ve just mentioned, I’ve been feeling extremely down lately, so I wasn’t too sure that I felt up to going anywhere at first. It was a really nice day though. I figured it would be good for me to fight the desire to pitifully rot indoors, so I threw some clothes on and went out. Slowly, but surely, the sunshine started to work its magic on me; I could feel my normal, jubilant self returning. I wasn’t feeling 100% better, but the good company and pretty day helped me to take my mind off of everything that’s been weighing me down.

Things were going great until we stopped off somewhere. Honestly, nothing even happened…I know this. All I was doing was sitting, minding my own business, watching people as they walked around the shopping center. As normal a thing as it was, I suddenly became really, really sad. My best guess is that whatever I was looking at influenced me to think things that I shouldn’t have been focusing on. Even though I was grateful for my beautiful surroundings and was happy to be fortunate enough to live in such a place, it did remind me of all the dreams I have that haven’t come true yet.

Before I knew it, I started putting myself down. I tried so hard to remain positive and turn every negative thought into something less self-defeating, but nothing I did worked. And so the thoughts broke through like a flood:

“It’s too bad I’m too fat to wear the dress she’s wearing.”

“Don’t you wish you were pretty enough to date a guy like that?”

“I’ll never afford to drive half of these cars.”

“I don’t fit in here. I will never fit in here.”

“I should have stayed home.”

I sincerely hope that people can understand me when I say that I’m not a materialistic person in the least. Yes, I tend to like nice things and I have been blessed throughout my life to never want for much of anything. All the same, I have always been the type of person who sets a very high standard for themselves. The things I have accomplished in life may be amazing to someone else, but to me…it’s just not good enough. It should be, but at this point in my life, it simply is not. So while I may have seen a car I would like to own or whatever the case may be, it wasn’t the car that upset me. It was the reminder of the unfulfilled dreams that could help me to afford such a car. It was more about what I’ve been trying to achieve than the extra perks that could come along with it. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I must have sat for twenty minutes littering my self-talk with every upsetting thing I could conjure up. Strangely enough, I would pair compliments for others with insults about myself. I thought of the individuals I watched as being so fortunate, and I hoped that they appreciated whatever I admired. As you can imagine, I ended up feeling terrible about myself, my life and my future. I felt big as a house, ugly, stupid and doomed. It got so bad that I quickly became grateful for the oversized sunglasses I was wearing; my eyes were nearly running over with tears. Thankfully, I was saying all of this stuff to myself and not aloud to those I was with…that wouldn’t be awkward at all, would it?

Of course, I fought back the urge to bawl my eyeballs straight out of my head, so no one noticed anything wrong with me. In fact, they were having a riotous good time talking about something completely unrelated to what was plaguing me. At one point, a particular individual went on to discuss the various types of people at their job. That was when they proceeded to mention how “big” some women in their office were. They just kept going on and on about how overweight they were, “They’re some really big women. I mean, big. Most of them are even bigger than (insert my name here).”

Instantly, my stomach dropped. Bigger than me? Why would you feel it necessary to be so accurate about another person’s weight as to literally point to an innocent member of your party and essentially say, “Oh, you look fat enough. You’ll do.” Hurt, I tried to defend myself by asking them why I had to be the frame of reference. Why not something else? Why pick the person you knew was currently going through something with their weight? All they could say was, “I don’t know anyone else.” Oh. I see. So, that makes it…okay?

From that moment on, my outing was pretty much dunzo. To make matters worse, we were getting ready to go to lunch. Though I hadn’t eaten all day, my appetite was ruined. Maybe this person didn’t really mean anything by what they said, maybe they did (they actually say things that hurt my feelings on a regular basis these days so…go me). Regardless, this was not a case of “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you”. That s— really did hurt me. All they had to do was think before they opened their mouth, but you know what? That’s the fruit of talking s—about others. In putting someone else down, they actually crushed the spirit of someone they (allegedly) care about.

To end this story, I just want to ask all who read this to please be more mindful of the things you choose to talk about, the things you say to people. I walk around every single day dealing with things, contemplating things that no one has any idea about. However, I know I’m not alone. While some people make it glaringly clear (sometimes even too clear) that they have various issues that they’re dealing with, not everyone makes their personal struggles so apparent. Often, the people who share the least are the ones who could use a kind word of encouragement the most.

No one in this world is perfect. We all have bad days and we all have flaws. There are times when we don’t say things perfectly and don’t treat others as well as we could. I forgive the person who said what they did because I know I have unintentionally said things in the past that ended up really hurting someone I love. And of course, what I’m requesting is nothing new or novel. Deep down, we all know that there are people walking around with hidden pain who may be hurt by the things we do or say. All I can ask you today is to please be reminded of it.

Please be kind to all you meet. You will never know just how badly your words may wound someone. It’s just like a paper cut; sometimes the tiniest cuts actually sting the worst.

If you think there is someone out there who could benefit from reading this, please share it. If I could encourage just one person to stop and think before talking or typing something careless and hurtful, it would make up for every difficult day I’ve had recently. Thank you for taking the time to share in this experience with me. I appreciate it.

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