Throughout my life—be it in work, school, or relationships, I've heard it all. Sometimes, though, our definition of hearing is just identifying. The “yeah, yeah” of life
It needs to be listened to.
My personal self-growth project when I turned 23 was to elevate my life, starting with elevating myself.
I mean hell, I'm done with college. No one’s going to attempt to make you something at a certain point; you've got to find the drive within yourself.
So I thought, what if I took my biggest criticisms? The ones that REALLY hurt. The ones that dug deep? The ones that sent me running to the bathroom stall at work to ugly cry in private. The ones that kept me lingering in my car, ignition off, wondering if I should just drive somewhere new right now and start over? What if they became my biggest strength and the things I loved about myself the most?
The following is a list of the most hurtful things that have ever been said to me, that I chose to actually do something with.
1) "You're a bitch."
This one might be my favorite, which is why it’s in the top spot. Throughout the years, this one has been thrown around a lot, and I've come to realize it’s a direct response to someone being hurt that I just hit them with an unfiltered truth. I'll keep being honest, and a bitch, too.
2) “You’re selfish.”
The truth of the matter is that we all are. Our mere survival is selfish. I've just tried to balance what I do as favors for others equally with what I do to please myself. Effort is key.
3) “You're controlling.”
Honestly, I am. I feel good knowing something was done properly and I have a hard time making the connection that that doesn't mean it needs to be done by me 100%. Have faith that other people are just as capable and ambitious as you are. Sometimes that means restraint.
4) “You’re a bit much.”
Jabs at our personalities hurt. A lot. I've noticed that I thrive amongst people that are ALSO a lot. Watering yourself down isn't cute to me. Diluting yourself isn't a friend-making tactic I agree with. Comments like these you just have to let roll off of you.
5) “You’re weird.”
Worship this about yourself. Say it in the mirror until you accept it. Weird gets me up in the morning. If only 12 year-old me could have learned this. The truth of the matter is I'm wearing velvet bell bottoms today at work TBH and living my ‘90s dreams. Weird choice? Maybe. Brb, applying blue lipstick.
6) “I don't love you.”
Ouch. Challenge yourself to take rejection with grace. Your base instincts are going to encourage you to get petty, mean, even moderately violent. Be the bigger person, and try separating your emotions from your thoughts. I've said things like “I'm sorry you feel that way” in response to this, my thought, even if my feelings were OMGWHYWHYWHY.
When your adrenaline is pumping and maybe instead of just taking this as a throwaway next time you find yourself in an argument, respect people’s boundaries and just stop your side of the conversation dead. I've found that people are surprised when you totally listen; our culture teaches to give nothing but push back. PS- not talking about touching here, obviously. Touching is ALWAYS mutually consensual or it doesn't fly.
8) “Just let go.”
Some people find the process of letting go easy. I am invariably not one of those people. I find it hard to accept someone in my life as it is; I'm selective. Letting go is the acknowledgment that hey, things change. This isn't working right now. Maybe you were wrong about this. It’s humbling and unpleasant, and that’s how you know it’s the right thing to do.
9) “I love her now.”
This statement shatters dreams, for sure, but you can't let it shatter your self-confidence. The idea here kind of goes along with what I've mentioned beforehand, but with the important note to not compare yourself to whomever is the item of your beloved’s affection. Comparison is the true thief of happiness. If you literally need to make a list of what makes you awesome, do that, do it until you feel it. And know that validation never comes from outside, it comes from within.
10) “You’re nothing to me.”
If someone took the time to say this to you, know that it’s a lie. We only spend time on that which allures us in some fashion, so the fact that it was said disproves it totally. This statement is aimed to hurt you and nothing more, and if you let it, it can do some damage. Try and think yourself through these emotionally distressing moments, and you’ll realize that anyone who has the goal to hurt you is truly hurting internally within themselves.
If you take what I've said to heart, I promise, things will get a lot easier, and you will get a lot happier.