Sticks and Stones

I’m still amazed by how bold the general public can be. I’ve lived with wounds and/or scar tissue on my cheeks for twenty-one years and I’m still thrown off by what complete strangers say.

“Have you heard of Mederma/ Tea Tree Oil/ Coco Butter?”

“Must’ve been a hell of an accident; how long ago was it?”

“If I’m looking at you, I must not want to see the other guy.”

“It’s such a shame about your face. You would have been so pretty otherwise.”

I’ve heard all of these on multiple occasions. However, there’s another side to keep in mind.

“You have a gorgeous smile.”

“Your eyes are amazing.”

“I love how you style your hair.”

“You look so fit and healthy. Good for you for making time for yourself.”

I’ve heard all of these on multiple occasions.

There are two ways to handle people’s words. The first is to live so no opinion matters. If you hear a compliment or an insult, it won’t matter one way or another because no words will have any effect. The other way is to have an emotional response to what people have to say. I live the second way. I say this after I’ve cried over insults. I say this because I’ve been moved to tears by compliments.

Let’s be clear: Listening to what people have to say and reacting to their words is different than letting people’s opinions dictate your life.

The human experience is an emotional one, which includes the good, the bad, and everything in between. Talking about statements of appearance is an easy example. People will also bring up personality traits, interests, work ethic, ect. The bottom line is I want to hear what people have to say. I think it’s wrong to try to trick myself into thinking words don’t matter when they do. At the end of the day people’s words aren’t going to hinder me. If opinions mattered that much to me I wouldn’t be able to leave my house without wearing a mask. There can be benefit to people’s words and I don’t want to discredit that.

I want to hear compliments so I can have a sense of confidence and be encouraged.

I want to hear criticism so I can grow and develop as a person.

And with this I’ll hear insults. And if nothing else that makes for a stronger character.

It’s ok to be sad if someone says something rude. It’s ok to accept a compliment. Part of life is to have an emotional reaction to experiences, and hearing what people have to say can definitely be considered an experience. I encourage anyone reading this to let themselves have that reaction. Don’t write off anyone who says they appreciate you. Believe everyone who tells you that you look nice. Let yourself feel good for a few minutes. And if someone says something you disagree with- your opinion counts too.

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