Bury the hatchet. Clear the air. Look on the bright side. Everything will work itself out. Beat around the bush. All’s well that ends well. You’ve all heard those, right? Cliches! Some are pointless, and I do not believe what they say. Others have a lot of truth to them. Does it solve the problem at hand by repeating them, or do we just say them out of habit?
Recently, one of my Facebook friends posted that the saying, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you,” was not true. I completely agree! This is not a true statement. Words (and sometimes a lack of words if you’ve been given the cold shoulder) can be incredibly painful! Even as adults, it can be very hurtful to be on the receiving end of mean words and actions, especially if you would never do that to someone else. I used to know someone who would say, “I won’t let them hurt me. They mean nothing to me, so why should it hurt me?” It isn’t as easy as all of that for some of us. Some of us hurt more deeply because we actually care more. That particular person wasn’t exactly the most sensitive or kind person, and he could really dish out a lot of mean comments, so I’m pretty happy I don’t deal with him anymore. But those of us who are loving and caring individuals tend to hurt more because we feel more. We have empathy for others. We haven’t selfishly made life all about us. We tend to put up with a lot of crap from other insensitive people, and hurt very much in the process. I’ve been going through this a bit lately, and it hurts very much.
A saying that I completely agree with is, “Actions speak louder than words.” I’ve heard a lot of people say “all the right things,” but when it comes to actually “doing the right thing,” they don’t. I’ve had people make promises to me, or fake concern or interest in me, but then do something incredibly hurtful through their actions, proving their words were just insincere statements or someone being nosy. Some show a complete lack of manners, or make no effort to show they care, but if you did the same to them, they would be angry. In that case….”When people treat you like they don’t care, believe them.” I have definitely seen this since my diagnosis of a brain tumor a few months ago. It has given me some clarity as to who I should devote my time and attention to. Not that I want it to be “all about me,” but don’t pretend to care “once in a blue moon” just to ignore me when I need support. I’ve tried to go on as normally as possible, and do not want this to dominate my life, but it has caused me to make changes, and I do suffer. I’ve had people pass judgement on me over this illness, but unless “they walk a mile in my shoes,” they really will never understand what I go through every day. I’m not a whiner, and don’t want to have all of the attention on myself, but it is a very serious condition. Don’t pretend to care if you don’t. I wish I had a dollar for every, “Let me know if you need anything,” that was coming from some insincere individual who really didn’t care a bit about me. Maybe they don’t know what to say, but I can tell the difference between those who care and those who don’t.
Cliches…..applied to our lives….does this cheapen our situations and our feelings? I think in some instances, it does. Not all of these can be applied to everyone. If someone was saying unkind things to me, and I was told, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you,” I would feel that I was not entitled to feel pain. Who can tell us when and how we feel? That isn’t fair. Don’t take the right to feel away from someone. Don’t hurt someone with words or actions, and then decide that they don’t have the right to hurt.
Be careful with throwing out cliches when it comes to someone’s personal feelings or situations. “Until you’ve walked in their shoes,” you don’t have the right to cheapen their feelings. Be sincere with your concern. Allow them to feel on their terms. Our lives are not built around cliches.