Monday, April 25, 2011

All in A Word

My Great Grandmother Angelina Revellino used to say "Dolly* … No talka before you go, talka when you come back." It's something I've practiced all my life. Too bad there are many out there who don't.
Everyone is an armchair expert these days. They half-listen or half-read a line/comment and hastily react. They take another's inventory and think they've got them all figured out.

But here's the thing… You can't possibly know everything about anyone in a flash. Even the most open and transparent of individuals cannot be so easily analyzed.

There are many dangers in deciding to be the judge, jury and executioner of another human being. People who appear publicly confident often intimidate the insecure, who then fight for superiority by devising ways--often verbal--to control them. 

Unfortunately even the strongest individuals with a powerful persona can be emotionally left in a heap on the floor, courtesy of one key word. And I'm seeing it happen all around me more frequently. To people I care about very much.

Despite my position as a "believer," it is becoming abundantly clear that this world is not eager to change its negative path. It's just not all sunshine and rainbows. In reality, it never was—and likely never will be. But it can improve. It can be better.

People really need to step back a second, breathe, reevaluate the words BEFORE they leave their mouths and consider the impact and repercussions.

Normally I'm not much of a name-caller because I was pretty much a target in grammar school and its sting taught me that lesson. Fat kids don't usually fare well amongst their peers and I was no different. Because "Melissa" was an unusual name in the 60s, it was easy to transition the name to "Malaria." So when someone coined me as "Contagious Malaria" in fourth grade, it caught on quickly. No one was to touch me or come near me, lest they too face "the wrath of the bullies."  

Don't feel sorry for me, it's not the first time I was called a name and it certainly wasn't the last. I shed a fair amount of tears and let it keep me down for a while but there are benefits to being determined and thickheaded. So eventually I moved on and forward.

The name calling to my face and behind my back certainly didn't end in childhood. Actually it continues to this day. Now that weight is less of an issue in my life, people just find other names to call me, citing other reasons.

The human psyche is very delicate. I have a better than average understanding of psychology because of my gig writing and editing text. But even by viewing a few episodes of "Criminal Minds," it's not difficult to see that the person who seems to be in total control can become unraveled by a "final straw" (trigger).

The bottom line is that another's head is not your stomping ground. You don't like it when it happens to you. But then you turn around and do it to somebody else. It's a cycle of abuse, pure and simple.

The additional fragility lies in the reality that everybody needs to feel connected. When a target has made their primary anchor and identity related to a social media site or bulletin board or organization, it's hard to deprogram and move on if their intent and popularity there is focused upon by the jealous, mean and/or unstable.

So I say to those of you who love purely and give freely of yourselves to others with good intent: Keep the following in mind when another's words start crowding your head and inhibiting your progress.

-Most of the time, it's really not about you at all. It's about them and their insecurities.

-"What others think of us is none of our business."

-Life is a learning experience. "Take what you need and leave the rest" … "Use it or lose it."

-A thread of truth does not weave the fabric of our lives—or our future.

-Diminish the power of abuses past by refusing to allow them to continually control our today.

-Devalue the impact of words intended to hurt so you can continue your mission.

-Stay pure of heart and intent. Leaders don't follow crowds mired in negativity.

-If it was all meant to be easy, there would be no joy in accomplishing life's challenges.

-Go where there is love and support; repel hostility, negativity, doubt.

-Continue to emanate that beauty from within. It shines. It pervades. It rejuvenates and empowers.

-Stay on course; it will really piss the meanies off. Their impact dissipates with each unkind word.

*That's how Great Grandma said "Darling" in her broken English. (She emigrated from Italy and returned there before she died.)

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