Stress! Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can be hazardous to our health.
I’m sure you have been in situations where someone said spiteful things to or about you, and at that time, you couldn’t think of how to retaliate. Their words had a way of creeping back into your thoughts no matter how hard you tried to get rid of them. While fixing dinner, driving, working out, you just couldn’t stop thinking about pay back.
I almost caused a car accident one day when my mind was not on driving while mentally replaying the condescending and disrespectful words from a nurse in the doctor’s office. Because brain fog was my companion in the office that day, I couldn’t think of a smart comeback.
Throughout the week, those stress producing words gnawed away at my peace of mind, flooding my body with poison. I was not in a forgiving mood or willing to turn the other cheek. Many times I would be wide awake between midnight and dawn rehearsing put-downs.
Stress, caused by unkind words, can make you sick–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Malicious words erode your self-esteem, self-image, self-worth and cut to your core leaving wounds that never heal. Stress damages the heart as well as the soul.
Words uttered that are deemed offensive, can even put your livelihood at risk (as being reported in the media lately). The internal frustration from cruel words has even caused eating disorders in the lives of those thrown off track by that destructive “F” word…FAT. Weight gain is often a by-product of callous words when someone finds comfort in food. It’s been reported that stress can worsen pain, elevate blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Add to that list of problems sabotaging your health: impaired memory, GI disorders, insomnia, hair loss, to name a few.
We now seem to live in a culture that applauds mean, nasty, hateful words. We’re entertained by ugly words. If you sprinkle in vulgarity, you get a standing ovation. The young, as well as those who should be setting a good example, take great pride in spewing venom. It’s not just what we say but also how we say it.
Those brave souls who choose to say anything sincere, uplifting or heartfelt, are booed…or fired. Niceness, respect, empathy are not in style. Bullying is on the rise inflicting lifelong pain. All too often, there’s another report about how, once again, heartless words precipitated a tragic suicide. Words really can kill!
Of course, not all stress is bad. Many everyday encounters can be the source of stress. The important thing is how we handle it.
Vengeance and stress were replaced by “peace that passes all understanding” when I decided to send the nurse a copy of the quote below to “speak” for me. The outcome was not in my hands.
“Be careful of your thoughts because they become your words.
Be careful of your words because they become your actions.
Be careful of you actions because they become your character.
Be careful of your character because it becomes your destiny.”
I added a note to refresh her memory.
To my surprise, a few days later I received a note from the nurse…and one from the doctor. (I had not involved him.) She apologized for offending me and said she will be mindful of how she speaks to their patients in the future. The doctor assured me that this is not the kind of experience he wants his patients to have and he thanked me for bringing the incident to their attention. They both apologized again in person at my next visit.
THOUGHTFUL WORDS TO LIVE BY:
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”– Proverbs 12:18.
*Quote found in the blog “The Redo You Project” reblogged from “Midnight Thoughts” in a post entitled “Words, Once Spoken.”
Related post: “No Wheat, No Weight? — Part 2” (self-image)