Thursday, September 18, 2008

Heart Engravings

"Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me." This was a popular playground chant when I was a child. I think even then I knew that it was far from the truth.

The hurtful things we say, whether purposefully or thoughtlessly, impact others tremendously. I was fortunate to grow up in a family where we were taught to weigh our words before we spoke, and to value the feelings of others.

As a tall, chubby young girl who was often "teacher's pet", I learned first-hand that people could be cruel in their comments. Fortunately, though, my home was my safe haven, and my mother always lovingly reassured me of my self-worth.

We are taught to forgive and forget, but somehow, hurtful words are engraved in our hearts, and even though we may forgive the speaker of those words, we can never really forget what was said. We move on and focus on the blessings of our lives to keep ourselves emotionally healthy, but we don't ever totally forget.

Unfortunately, even though I have been blessed with wonderful children and grandchildren, my marriage has been difficult. My husband is often depressed and unhappy, and has always felt justified in venting his anger verbally to the very ones who loved him.

At this stage in my life, for the most part, I have moved on emotionally and find my contentment and fulfillment in my children, grandchildren and friends, my home and gardens, and the many pursuits which fill my heart and mind with pleasure.

This week, though, I was totally shocked at a comment he made unexpectedly -- calling me a "cast iron bitch". I don't really know what provoked the comment, or why I reacted so deeply to it, but it has haunted me all week, casting a shadow over my happiness. My first reaction was shock, my second reaction was to question whether there is a basis for his comment, and my third reaction was to ask other people for their opinions. But to this moment, I can't get it out of my mind --

For the most part now, I am trying to move past it -- to concentrate on the good things in my life, and not let his demons diminish my emotional health and happiness. But, once again, I am reminded of the scars we carry in our hearts from the hurtful words of others.

I would like to share a quote that speaks to my soul:

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -- Maya Angelou

May we all hold that thought in our minds in our daily interactions with loved ones, friends and acquaintances --

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