“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” We have all heard this saying many times growing up and can probably remember quoting it to others but has this ever felt a true statement to live by?
When your mental health is being tested and feelings of vulnerability, anxiety and low self-esteem are rife, words which are meant in encouragement can be quite damaging. There are a few expressions I feel personally (some of you may agree) which can feel more of a hindrance than a help.
Can be used in kindness or in aggravated situations but could cause the absolute opposite to happen; like a red rag to a bull. Mostly said with sincere earnestness but can sometimes feel belittling, as though you’re making a scene when making a valid point or expressing ideas or feelings.
Possibly the most damaging of all. Why tell someone who could be struggling with anything or everything in life to simply be told to “Man Up”? There’s so much campaigning and support out there to encourage men particularly to express emotion, opening up the fortress gate that’s guarding how they’re truly feeling, only to have two little words muttered.
That’s it for fear of jeopardising their masculinity some men tend to bolt up the gate and barricade it with every fibre of their being; because that’s what it takes to be a man? In all honesty, if you asked a woman if they thought any less of a man who showed emotion or talked about mental health, the answer would be no. In fact, they would respect and love them more for it.
As a woman, I’ve actually been told to “Man up” a couple of times which is rather confusing and never resolved absolutely anything!
Living my best life
We seem to see this saying everywhere, on social media, on the telly, in magazines etc. At least 80% of people you’ve never met or haven’t seen since school are doing fantastically well for themselves. A loving partner, ladder climbing career, gorgeous house, beautiful kids, the list is endless.
But appearances can be deceiving! I could easily take a picture of myself standing next to a brand new car and post it on social media for the world to see when in fact it’s not my car; my 15-year-old car is parked next to it. Absolute smokescreen! Why apply envy on top of the pressure to live your best life when you can work towards, particularly emotionally and mentally, living a happy life.
I once read about a film star who said in an interview that he had cars, houses, constant flow of work coming in, parties, the list goes on. But he came to the realisation that although he could afford the very best life could bring him, he wasn’t enjoying it and he wasn’t happy. And this is what we need to remember: appearances can be deceiving. Things can look amazing in a photo shielding a hidden issue.
Try to avoid the pressures of comparison to others and be happy for your own and others successes no matter how big or small. Think to live life for me, no one else but for me. Why? Because I deserve it!