Friday, 17 March 2017

Names can hurt you

Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me, so went a popular playground chant. It was used as a defence to let the bully think you were strong and unaffected by their unkind taunts.
It's not true though, is it? names really do hurt, unkind comments and remarks can harm. Insults thrown about in the heat of an argument can cause lasting damage to a relationship.
 In this day and age of modern technology even text messages and emails, comments on Facebook can hurt feelings and cause distress.
How many times have you studied a text message to try and decipher any hidden implications or searched for some badly needed sign of affection in the typed words. That must be why we use so many emoticons, to soften messages to remove doubt that we might be joking or attempting irony.
Words such as please, thank you, sorry can heal and smooth, especially sorry. It must surely be one of the most healing words that someone can use.
Insults and criticism can be thrown around on the internet, Facebook etc and do untold harm.
The same rules apply though, in this world of modern technology and instant contact, that have always concerned the human race.

There is a story about Socrates who when a friend whispered in his ear that he had something to tell him about a mutual friend, held up his hand to stop him.
Socrates went on to ask his friend to reflect before speaking to see if this gossip would pass the test of the three sieves.
Firstly was what he was going to say true.?
Secondly was what he was going to say kind.?
Thirdly was what he was going to say useful.?
The friend thought for awhile and then admitted that he didn't know if it was true, it wasn't nice and certainly wasn't useful. So what was the point of passing on  such information ?


We probably all grew up with advice from our parents ringing in our ears and tried to put it into practice.
My mum and dad used to like the expression,' it's the singer, not the song,' and would tell each other ' it's not what you say, it's the way that you say it.'
Sometimes for fun, my dad would illustrate this by telling our dog that he was horrible and smelly, in a sweet and gentle voice. The dog would look at him in adoration and wag his tail. 
Then, to prove his point, he would tell the dog that he was lovely and a good dog, but in a cross voice, then the dog would run to his basket, tail between his legs.

When animals roll over like this it means they really trust you



  1. Excellent post, Angela. I like the three sieves test. It's so important to resist unkind words and slanderous comments. I grew up with something similar in that I was taught both at home and at the convent school where I went that 'If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all'. I do my very best to practise this. It's not always easy, especially when feeling injured by something someone else has done, but I really try hard. It makes relationships much happier on the whole!

  2. Oh and yes, I remember that song! In these cases, silence is definitely golden!