You might remember your mother telling you when you were a child; “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” Well she lied!
Words do hurt, and if heard enough times over and over, they will leave an internal scar, that can last a lifetime.
As a child, I was often teased for my blond hair and light skin. (Yes, I really did have blond hair) Other kids called me ‘Cornbread’ because they said my skin tone matched the color of Cornbread. If they were really mean, they called me an Albino. This usually got their asses kicked by my big sister, but the words still hurt.
In High School, I had a Guidance Counselor once tell me that a Vocational School after high school might be a better choice than college. Mind you, I was a ‘B’ average African American student from a middle class family, in a predominantly white school.
In my Law Enforcement career, I worked as an Internal Affairs Investigator and was told repeatedly that Officer’s couldn’t trust me because I was no longer one of them. They said that I worked for Administration and somehow by holding them accountable to standards and policy, I was against them.
I read not too long ago in a colleague’s blog that he was actually thinking about quitting his writing career because some of the ‘meanness’ that goes on within our industry.
So do you really believe words can’t hurt, that you just need to develop a thicker skin, not be so sensitive? We live in a society that thinks it’s okay to say whatever you want. That this is your ‘right’. As an effect Cyber bullying is on the rise. Some people love to do nothing more than show off their self-imagined intelligence by being critical in a comment or thread. To be super critical of someone else’s creative work gives them power they seem to think. They are not creators, not original, not powerful, they are simply commentators.
I have learned that in our cyber world if you disagree with someone’s post, just keep your mouth shut and keep scrolling. You are not required to reply to everyone’s post or comment. Don’t be mean, don’t make an ass of yourself, and don’t be a Cyber Bully. If you wouldn’t say it to their face in a conversation (usually because you realize it is rude, inappropriate, or hurtful) then don’t write it!
As most of you already know, I write Male/Male Romance with real emotions that represents a moral dilemma that the characters face in pursuit of love. In Ancient House of Cards, Ian dealt with his own mother’s bigotry and Father Sebastian had to contend with the homophobic realities of the Church. In Before Sunrise, the bigotry and bullying was a reflection of what is currently playing out on college campuses every day, discreetly and not so discreetly. My current Work-In-Progress (WIP) deals with the issues of moral dilemma as well.
There is not a single person in the world that doesn’t know how it feels to be hurt, so knowing how it feels, I cannot comprehend why someone would deliberately hurt others. It’s not that hard to be kind. A lack of compassion and understanding of a world beyond one’s own eyes is not human. Isn’t that what separates us from non-humans?
The Dalai Lama once said-“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness”.
What happened to common decency, the golden rule of ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’?” When did it become okay to just say whatever you wanted without concern? I live by a simple rule- Is it helpful; is it inspiring; is it necessary; is it kind? This is what I try to ask myself daily, my guide, my leash on my own ‘Big Mouth’.
Be Kind, it’s not that hard to do, and you will reap the cosmic rewards.
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