Sticks & Stones

My musing this month has been inspired by MuMan’s article as he beat me to it with something great! (Usually it’s me who picks the topic). As I read his words, I was reminded of the following little ditty:

“Sticks & Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”

Were you ever told that as a kid? I was! And I remember saying it to other children at Primary School as a defence for when they said something that was less than nice to me or my friends.

The problem is though, it’s not true is it?! As much as we’d all like it to be. It just isn’t. In fact it’s almost a bit back to front. You see the reality is that physical pain, broken bones, bruises, cuts, etc, can often heal and be forgotten. Not always, obviously: I will forever wear the scar of spinal surgery and feel the remnants of a less than perfect back – more pain than some but a lot less than others. But I don’t remember or feel the bruises I had as a kid as the result of an overzealous playfight with my brother or a fall in the playground, or even a shove. If you asked me about the things other kids said to me though, I could probably list off a few. I can quite easily recall the nicknames and the taunts that [though not as severe as others experience] left me feeling rejected, lonely and hurt. And it’s a kind of hurt that is too easy to remember and to even start to own again and question.

STOP. BREATHE. SHAKE IT OFF. I am a capable, beautiful, caring woman.

That’s what I want to believe. That’s what I know, deep down, to be true. So why is it so easy to shrink away from believing that at the memory of a harsh word said?

Why? Because the ditty is wrong: Names do hurt and they hurt in a way that doesn’t heal quite as naturally as a broken bone. When I’m in a good place (happy, healthy, etc) my back pain fades in to insignificance as do the words that have been spoken to me in the past. But add some tiredness in to the mix or a cold that’s lingered too long and as much as the back aches and pains return to remind me I am not physically perfect, the memories of words and people’s actions towards me can also begin to chip away at the motivated attitude and confidence I work hard to maintain. And do you know what? I’d take the back pain over that any day. I can deal with the physical pain but when my emotional well-being gets challenged I find it so hard to fight back and to get back to believing that I am a capable, beautiful, caring woman.

MuMan will forever mock me (lovingly) for the fact that up until the age of about 20, I retained this on my CV:

July 1994 – Won ‘Friendliest Person of the Year’ Award

As a child and even as a teen and then young adult, I was proud of that. What a great thing to be said about you hey? Sadly, I’m not sure I’d come close to winning the same award now though. The problem is that over the last 24 years since winning that award, some of the people I have been most friendly to are the people that have put me down, misunderstood me and left me feeling lonely, rejected and hurt. And most of that has occurred through words that they have said – some that were simply throw away remarks, some that were more intentional and then sometimes is was actually the words they didn’t say that hurt the most.

I’m sharing this because after 34 years, I’d like to think I’ve learnt not to carry the past forward and in many respects I have but there are still those little words that creep up on you now and again. And if you read MuMan’s article, you’ll see that his challenge this month is about the words we use to and about our children. I don’t want my kids to be grappling with a throw away comment I made to them in thirty odd years time. I want them to know through both my actions and words that they have always been and are always loved, accepted and encouraged to be the best they can be. I know sometimes that’s hard to do when your child is having a screaming tantrum on the floor or slamming a door in your face; I don’t have all the answers but I do know that their emotions are way more delicate than their tiny bodies and words are one of the most powerful tools I have in my possession to keep them happy and healthy!

Elsewhere in MuMag this month, MuMotivate is helping to remind us to also take care of those tiny bodies with her sugar challenge and MuMystery takes a look back at what she’s learnt following MuMag’s first birthday last month. We’ve given MuMatriarch the month of this month as we were reminded that even grandmother’s have their own life and fun times – so she’s been enjoying a few child free treats and relax times! See you next month!

MuMum x

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