Monday, January 20, 2014


Dopey, Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Bashful, Big Ears and Noddy.  These are all names of characters in the children's books I grew up with.  We didn't give it much thought then because we were not the ones being labeled.  Thank goodness we have entered an age of greater awareness of how names and labels seriously affect people's belief in themselves and their own abilities.  Take Dopey for example.  The name immediately suggests that the child is unintelligent and won't get anywhere in life. 

What about cruel words?  "You are useless!" "I can't trust you to do anything right!" "You are an idiot!" "You were born a hellion!" "You always mess things up!" "You haven't got any brains!" "Don't even try!" "Let's face it, you are just not good enough!" "Why can't you get great grades at school like your brother?" Words like these, even spoken in jest, can cause long-term negative repercussions.

These are negative comments said at the expense of others just to get a laugh.  Put downs (or 'burning' on someone) can be heard on TV sitcoms every day.  How sad that the media has become the model of what we say to others.

  • To boost ourselves in others' eyes.
  • To claim power over another person.
  • Force of habit.
  • Jealousy that another person is getting more attention than we are.
  • Anger and hurt. Remember that often hurt people, hurt people.
  • Because we feel bad about ourselves, we talk negatively about others.
  • We may live in a negative environment that creates a sense of unhappiness.
1. Change ourselves first.
    Listen to the words that are coming out of our mouths.
    What we say IS who we are.
    Do I feel good about myself?
    What negative words have crushed me?
    Do I have to feel like this forever?  NO!  Get help.  Start with small steps.  Talk to a trusted
    friend or professional counselor and ask for their guidance and support.  If necessary,
    attend anger management and/or effective conflict resolution classes to be able to more
    positively manage issues.

2. Repair damage.
    If we have spoken negative words over our children, siblings or friends, we should seek
    forgiveness from them and make a conscious effort to only speak kindly in the future.
    They will  hopefully forgive us, but forgetting is another thing.  It may take a long time
    for them to trust us again.  Those are just the consequences of not thinking before speaking.

3. Monitor the environment.
    How is the home temperature?  They say that around 70% of conversation and gestures in the
    home are negative.
    Start a new regimen.
    Encourage positive talk.
    Eating meals at the table offers the opportunity to take a positive interest in what the family
    is doing and to encourage and support each other.

4. Listen.
    We need to listen to one another and heed when they say they feel hurt by some comment
    we have made.  We don't always appreciate others' sensitivity, especially if they have suffered
    a situation we know nothing about.

5. Set strong family values.
    Values are expectations we set for our selves and family to live and be known by.  Respect
     for one another should be at the top of our list.  Others include honesty, commitment,
     responsibility, integrity, trustworthiness, obedience and forgiveness.

Everyone deserves to live up to their full potential.  When we find someone who is burdened down
by unkind words from the past, it is important to get them the right help so they can be free and be
enabled to live a carefree life.

Written by Sally Burgess

No comments:

Post a Comment