Sticks and Stones

We are taught at a young age to not let things bother us.  Sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us.  Or so they say.  How many people truly live as this motto says?  Probably not very many.  When people think of obesity, bullying might often come to mind.  The children featured on Biggest Loser this year spoke a lot how the biggest challenge of being fat is being teased or bullies.  That seems like a given since children are known to be cruel.  But what happens when adults bully adults?

This past Sunday, I was munching on a biscuit in the hallway at my church when an older man passed by and said:

“Don’t you ever stop eating?”

I’m not sure if it was what he said or how he said it but it struck a nerve that I had never felt before.  Sure, I was teased and slightly taunted throughout school.  I knew I was fat and that the other kids knew it too.  But as an adult?  By a fellow adult?  In church?  Something just hit hard.  He kept walking as he said it.  I looked at TJ with tears in my eyes and hurt in my heart.  Yes, that had really just happened.

I’ve had time to reflect on it over the past few days.  The words have been repeated over and over in my head time and time again.  Tears have been shed.  I know that the man may have not been intentionally cruel or that he even meant what he said.  But I do know that his words stung and they stung hard.  Am I being a baby for being upset and crying over someone making one hurtful and rude comment to me concerning food?  Maybe I am.

But I want to encourage everyone to think about what leaves their mouths no matter the topic.  Is it uplifting or degrading?  Could it be misinterpreted?  Does the other person know you are joking?  These are things to consider.  Bullying doesn’t stop after high school. No, it can follow you into adulthood.  But we as individuals have the power to control how we react to it.  Believe me, comments like that hurt really deep but I’m not going to allow some man’s words to negate my self esteem and make me feel unworthy as a beautiful woman.  Yes, sticks and stones will break my bones.  Words may actually even hurt me.  But sitting around and crying about it isn’t going to make it any better.  Turning to food as a band-aid isn’t going to make words and hurt magically disappear.  But standing strong and keeping my head high where it should be can make dealing with bullies and harsh words much much easier.

I encourage you to say something nice to someone every single day this week.  Lift them up and be a positive part of their day.  They may need it.