I saw a quote today. “Your perception of me is a reflection of you; my reaction to you is an awareness of me.” I’m not sure about the source of the quote unfortunately, but it got me to thinking, and really, almost to crying. It makes me think of my life, and of many people that I’ve encountered.
I have been judged so harshly by so many people. I have been called ugly, fat, stupid, lazy, unworthy, bitch, whore, leech, addict, waste and so many other things. Few of those things have ever been true. People look on me (and others) with these eyes for insult. They scan, looking at every aspect, not to praise or find goodness, but to find things to hate and degrade. They seek only to tear others down.
And that quote… It’s a reflection of you. Just because you say I’m ugly doesn’t mean I am. What it does mean is that you take pleasure in hurting others, in making them feel less about themselves. It means you don’t love yourself enough to be a kind person. It means you’re looking for something to call out in others so that for some moment you can gain a false sense of superiority. Congratulations, you all must be so proud of that.
I won’t lie and say I’ve never fallen into this trap. I have. I let the masses make me think it was okay, but it’s not. I sometimes have to remind myself how much it hurts, how the names and the judgments sting like hot needles in your heart. How they wiggle deep into your mind, scratching, ripping, injuring self-esteem and coloring everything you see and feel. It’s evil. It’s like giving someone an incurable disease just by opening your mouth.
It took longer for me to learn not to judge others harshly and speak ill of them than it did for me to learn how to react to them. More accurately, how not to react to them. I had to teach myself that just because someone else says it, doesn’t make it true. I’ve been called a slut, but I can count all my lovers without running out of fingers and I loved most of them dearly. I’ve been called stupid, but I was in advanced classes, have a degree and have more skills than I know what to do with. I’ve been called ugly, but that’s so subjective as to be laughable.
I had to remember that it’s just their opinion, and often a skewed one. I am what I believe I am. That only changes if I let it. I can be what others think I am, or I can be myself. When I grasped onto that I learned to let the insults slide off my back. I started to sometimes smile, because I was silently reminding myself of how their words were so untrue. Sometimes I feel sad though, because they must be so broken inside to feel the need to hurt me or anyone else.
Be aware of your words. What you say matters. Become aware of the negative things you think about others, and more importantly, how many of them you let slip past your lips. Why do you see and look for the worst in others? Why don’t you look for the best? Why not find something good to say about someone? Do you have any concept of how positively it can change someone’s day to receive a compliment or encouragement? Do you realize how negatively insults affect them? Think about how those words would make you feel. Choose your words wisely. What you say to others shows the world who you really are.