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Whoever came up with the adage, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was really dumb. The adage is usually recited by those who are wounded by words to hid their hurting hearts. It’s really a lie.

Once hurtful words are spoken, they are forever recorded in the hearts of the receiver. Just like stab wounds leave scars on the body, cruel words leave scars on the heart. No amount of apologies will erase them. They stay with the receivers for the rest of their lives.

The words don’t necessarily have to be spoken to be hurtful. They can be written. How many suicides have occurred because of social media words? The young are most vulnerable to those.

For example, if you see someone who is fat, why do you feel compelled to tell them so? If you see someone who is dressed poorly or walks funny, why do you vocally comment on that? If in your opinion, someone would look better with another haircut or with makeup or would get contacts instead of wearing glasses, why do you feel like they want your opinion? Is anything good accomplished by insulting others?

Somehow it’s become the social norm to express opinions about anything and everything to everyone. I’m telling you that it’s NOT okay. Unless someone asks for your opinion, keep it to yourself. If your expressed opinion will hurt someone’s feelings, then keep your mouth shut. If your opinion makes fun of or ridicules other people’s shortcomings, especially then, keep silent.

Words can ruin a life or change a life for the better . I’ve known people whose lives were ruined by hateful talk. I’ve known even more whose hearts were wounded by hateful words. I’ve known people who achieved great things because someone said something encouraging to them.

So when you feel the urge to utter or write something hurtful or hateful, pause and think. Is that how you want someone to always think of you? Is that the kind of influence you want to be on others? I hope you say no to both questions. Bite your tongue and leave the words unsaid. Or as my granny said, “If you can’t say anything good about someone, then keep your tater trap closed.”

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