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Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad...words.
If you have ever read the book ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Day’ written by Judith Viorst, you may recall its ending. At the books end, Alexander's mom tells him that everyone has a bad day sometimes. She also points out that running away or moving to another country (Alexander's way of escaping bad days) won't change that. Let me tell you now that everyone uses bad words sometimes. You can't escape it. I don't mean cuss words (those are bad however). I mean the really bad words. The words that hurt when a loved one is angry and shouts in your face or makes a comment that hurts like a knife to your heart. Sometimes, we don't even understand what that person was trying to say to us. How many times have you had a misunderstanding with friends, family or co-workers because someone, (maybe you), did not say exactly what was going on, what happened or how they really felt? The result was probably confusion, hurt feelings, and lots of unwanted drama.
Words can truly be confusing.
If you ever saw Bruce Lee in the movie ‘Enter the Dragon’, there is a wonderful scene in the movie where he points to the moon and says: "Words are like a finger pointing at the moon. Concentrate on the finger and you will miss all the heavenly glory".
A simple, but profound message is hidden here. Not only can words hurt us, but if we dwell on the words we do tend to miss the deeper meaning - the point of what we are trying to express. We miss out on the opportunity to truly understand another human being and form a real bond. Instead, we tend focus on the issues, talk about facts, or how to fix the problem. We get mad at our interpretation of the words and all too often we miss out on the feelings being expressed, and the true meaning behind the words. When we miss those, we miss out.
To lead more peaceful and happier lives it is our responsibility to learn how look at the words but also past the words others say to us and at their deeper meaning. From there we can choose wisely our own words and start to build the relationships we truly want.
David Linares, LMHC