Words can’t break your bones, but they can break your spirit, and they can break your heart. Because when we communicate with words, we exert power. When those in our inner circle, those we trust with our whole selves, say something, we listen. We believe. So recognize that there is a responsibility that goes with trust and a weight to your words. We can feel beaten down or lifted up by the words of others.
Think about it. What is the cruelest thing that someone(s) ever said to you? But you don’t even have to think about it. It’s right there, and you can remember it and spit it back verbatim. Here are the worst from my own catalog – “I don’t like to hold you at night because it makes me feel like I’m drowning and you are pulling me under,” from a former lover. “Beggars can’t be choosers,” from a former friend. “Your writing is pedestrian and boring,” from a former teacher. And the creme d’ la creme “Now you’re damaged goods, just like me,” from a (now deceased) relative. Pretty shitty, isn’t it? Made me feel small and worthless for quite some time.
But with age and experience, I gained more wisdom. I learned that it’s true that misery loves company, and that miserable people will pull others down with them. I learned that arrogant or narcissistic people only feel superior when they belittle you. I learned that I couldn’t prove myself otherwise, and that I needed to stop trying. I couldn’t change or save anyone mean or self-obsessed. I learned not to give away my self-definition. I know who I am.
But it’s been more recent that I figured out what I am. I’m an empath. And broken people are often attracted to empaths. We are by nature full of compassion for others, so we fall in the trenches with them and try to help them out. But recognize, it’s not your trench. I am not saying to not help others in need here. But I am saying recognize your own limits and protect your own heart. If someone is in pain, help them. It someone is always miserable and mean, step away.
“The moment you feel you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away.” ~Alysia Harris