This past week, my feelings were hurt by something two people said to me––one a virtual stranger, the other someone I’ve worked with occasionally for several years. Having had time to reflect, I realize that what truly upset me was something different from what I thought it was at first. But that didn’t change how deeply those words stung.
Words can hurt. Words can steal joy. They can cut us to the bone with just a tiny flick.
I’m done feeling hurt. I quickly asked for prayer, which made a huge difference from the very start. In fact, I cried more tears over the outpouring of affection and kindness that I received than from the initial hurt. I asked God to show me if there was fault on my part, and I asked forgiveness if I had done something unknowingly to others.
I also took immediate action to remove myself from a place where I might have to spend any time working with a toxic person in the future. With that decision, a huge weight rolled off my shoulders. A weight I hadn’t known had grown so heavy. What a relief to be rid of it! Why did I wait for my feelings to be hurt before I established better boundaries? Months ago this second person told me, over an unrelated matter, that she would never say, “I’m sorry.” She said she wouldn’t admit being in the wrong. So at least I know not to expect her to do so now. And I’m okay with that. I am not responsible for her behavior. I am responsible for mine. So that’s what I’ll work on.
I’ve had a prayer pasted into the front of my Bible since 1997. It’s a prayer for writers, and I printed a portion of it in red so it would stand out. That portion reads:
Help me to remember always that words have the power to destroy or build; the power to spread ignorance or dispense knowledge; the power to darken the world with hate or light it with love.
I want to remember to use my words well. My spoken words and my written words. I want my words to build up, to dispense knowledge, and to light the world with love. Life is too short to spend it in a negative manner.
And, of course, I’m a novelist. So everything I experience, everything I learn, everything I see, it is all grist for the mill. Not to mention that I’m able to work out my frustrations upon my characters. As Chaucer says in the movie, A Knight’s Tale:
“I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every last pimple. Every last character flaw. I was naked for a day. You will be naked for eternity.”
Well said, Chaucer. LOL!