THERE have been songs written about them. They can mend a broken heart. They can deal a final crippling blow.
They can be as brutal as they can be soulful, as uplifting as they are cruel.
Like the most potent of weaponry, these are things which should be used with care. In choosing them, we should exercise restraint and caution. For they can hurt.
They can cut to the core.
Yet, too, they can be healing, helpful and evoke great joy. It's in the delivery. And it's also in the way we choose to receive them.
There was a saying our mothers taught us once upon a time to help galvanise us against the hurt of words: sticks and stone may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.
Words can be the most effective tool in a game of foul play.
They can erode your will. Undermine your confidence. Question your convictions.
And when you're in the thick of it, how difficult is it to shrug off what's said and turn the other cheek?
We walk away thinking of everything we should/could have said, had we not been rendered sadly wanting for quick wit, composure or a sudden lack of care. It just doesn't work like that.
So what to do? The solution is actually quite empowering.
There is often little we can do about the words being spoken. That bit is generally not up to us.
The bit that is up to us is our reaction. We can choose to listen and take on board that which is said to us, or we can choose not to.
We can choose to dwell on the delivery, or we can look past it and consider what was intended.
We control what we take on board. More importantly though - and even more empowering - is the fact we can choose how to deliver our own words.
We can choose what really needs saying, and how best to say it before we open our mouths.
We're all guilty of saying what we think while having a foot firmly shoved in one's mouth.
But with a little thought and the flexing of our empathy muscle, we can say our piece, get the point across with all good grace and fabulousness in place.
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