No matter what your mother taught you . . . or what my mother taught me.
That old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
The older I get, the more I realize how false this old adage is.
Nothing hurts me more than your words.
Similarly, nothing has the power to heal me, to sew my wounds back together, to lift me up when I am down . . . than your words.
When I am on day four without a shower. And you look into my eyes and tell me I am beautiful.
When you hear me yell at my kids non-stop. And you validate me. Saying, “Yep . . . I did the same thing yesterday.”
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When after not talking for years, I reach out and tell you I miss you, and I’m sorry. And you say me too.
When I fall asleep every night, in pure exhaustion, after chasing around babies all day. And you say, “Sleep tight, my love. I’ll see you in the morning.”
When I say I don’t want to go anywhere today. It’s too hard with the kids. It just feels like work. And you say, “Good, I didn’t really want to go anyway.”
When I say I am a horrible friend. And you say, “I love you. You are an amazing friend. You are not too needy. I can’t imagine my life without you.”
When I say I need help. And you say, “What can I do?”
When I say I can’t do this anymore. And you say, “Yes, you can. One step at a time.”
When I say I am so tired. And you say, “So am I.”
When I say “I am SOOOO fat.” And you say, “Me too. Plus you just had a baby. You are beautiful.”
When I say, “I don’t know who I am anymore?” And you say, “I loved you yesterday. I love you today. And I’ll love you more tomorrow—whoever you become.”
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When I say please don’t stop reaching out to me. I’m just treading water right now and sometimes I let things slip until I float again. And you say, “I get it. You are an amazing and exhausted human, and I am proud of you.”
When I say I just can’t today. And you say, “It’s OK because I can.”
When I say I need you. And you say, “I’ve got you.”
When I say I love you. And you say, “I love you more.”
Words can hurt. Or they can heal.
So, throw the sticks and stones.
Just be kind with your words to me today.
Originally published on the author’s blog