The past few months for me have been filled with some soul searching. I’ve been looking back at all the mountains and valleys that I’ve gone through and it’s led me to realize how my beliefs have grown and changed over the years.
You may have heard the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe that saying… At all. Words hurt much more than we may think or understand, and they can affect us in ways that may only come up years after they were said. I say all of this because I’ve lived through it, and I’m still living through it.
Being an only child, I never really had anyone to talk to while I was growing up. Most times, it was just me and my thoughts, which is why those thoughts and feelings take up such a big place in my heart. From a young age I would feel things, good and bad, very deeply and very intensely.
There were many times where I didn’t feel good enough — whether because of something someone else said or did, or because I would reflect on what I’ve done or where I was that would lead me to that conclusion. I’ve had people tell me that I wasn’t enough, that I’d never be enough, that I’d never be able to do anything or get anywhere, and there were even a few people that have told me I should have taken my own life. All those things that were said and even some things were done, I ended up hurt and started to take that hurt out on others.
Like my mentor once told me, “Hurt people hurt people.” In other words, those who hurt you are also hurt themselves. My anger and pain because of what was said and done to me projected on to others, even those closest to me. In the beginning, I didn’t see what I was doing, I was blind to the pain I was causing others with my words and my actions. But when I did start to notice it, I did it even more because I was still so hurt — thinking that I could keep hurting people to try to make myself feel better… But life just doesn’t work that way.
After years of treating others poorly, I started to see what my attitude started to do in my relationships. It took hurting someone I loved, someone who meant the world to me, to force me to open my eyes and begin to change my ways. I knew that I acted out the way I did because of my past, because of all the words that were said; words that broke me, carried with me into adulthood, and they still hurt.
Those words hurt so much that now, years later, I’ve started my road to recovery. I’ve finally started unpacking the things that have stuck with me for so long. I’m a long way from the point where I can say that things are “okay,” but I know that if I keep moving forward, I’ll reach there one day.
Why do I tell you all of this?