Sticky words can be random and annoying and quality-of-life threatening.
“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”
L.M.Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Anne didn’t think thistles or skunk cabbage could ever compete with roses. You could argue that thistle flowers have their own beauty, and butterflies are just as attracted to weed flowers as to roses. Thistles are prickery, but so are roses.
To Anne, the memories that thistle and skunk cabbage conjured made her believe they could never compare to roses. If she had seriously tangled with a rose bush, her word memories might have been different.
A word memory can be like stone, and only the Love of God (and a ton of positive habit-changing) can change the difficult, negative power that certain words have over you.
For my daughter, one of those words is school. I can literally watch her smile fade and her head bow as a cloud of school memories fog her mind.
No, it’s not grades. She was an A student, and almost never had homework. I have no idea how she aced her tests, because I never saw her study. Her brother, now, was a different story. I spent hours on the couch with him refreshing my United States history and the spelling of obscure words.
If lessons was all that school had been about for her, the memories would be sweet.
Unfortunately, the words and actions of her peers totally trump her sweet triumph with grades. Her feelings of inadequacy and inability to feel a part of the group brought those words into a terrible focus that she still struggles with ten years later.
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.
Some words have the opposite effect on my daughter. Grandma. Shopping. Sparkle.
It is truly amazing how a little something sparkly from the middle of nowhere can lift her up like a balloon filled with helium. Sparkly things, and also sparkly words.
“Should we plan a birthday party for Molly?”
“Kiera called. She wants me to take her shopping.”
“I’m going to Miss Anita’s fun day at the ranch. She’s got a bunch of kids coming to ride and play games.”
All ordinary words that accompany a sparkle in her eyes.
How do you change the power that words have over your life?
How do you push the delete button on unwanted word memories?
One of the first steps is not pushing the delete button. Squashing painful memories into the deep, dark recesses of your mind will only result in keeping them front and foremost. Rather than trying to erase the memory, bring it out into the light of day. Hang it out in the sun, and inspect it from every angle. “Why did this hurt me?” “Why are my memories of this event so painful?” “What was happening in my life at the time, or in the life of the person who hurt me?” “Could I have misunderstood something about these words?”
One of my negative sticky words was bridesmaid. That tab could pop out of nowhere in the website that is my mind. I’d click the x in the corner; swipe quickly to get it off the page when the memory came up. Then, just when I thought I was getting to the good parts of the story, there it came, floating from the left again. At times I found no way to get it off the page as it danced there front and center of the screen.
I just had to close the page. Ignore it. Shove it into the deep, dark recesses.
That word ruined a good friendship between two families. It separated childhood friends, who stuck together like gorilla glue through the years.
Here’s what happened, in non-toxic words. My niece was going to be bridesmaid for her mother’s bridesmaid’s daughter. Got that? Second generation bridesmaid. The friendship was so good, it carried down to the daughters. And to the extended family.
Then suddenly, she wasn’t going to be bridesmaid anymore.
Some words were exchanged that threw both families into “she said, and she said” crisis mode.
Did this heal quickly, even after words of forgiveness had been exchanged?
No, it didn’t.
Damage had been done that shattered deep beliefs about who each of us was.
And that has taken time to heal. I personally had to hang my memory of that time in the sun, and examine it from every angle, and let the “Son” brighten, bleach and cleanse the memories. Every time they floated onto the screen. Over and over.
“Bridesmaid” is barely a hiccup to me anymore. It’s the little lump that remains after a good cry, but it’s a good lump, because you know the tears are over, and it’s all going to be fine.
Clarita from mdjunction.com says you have to be committed to heal. “Once you decided to forgive the person who said the hurtful words, there are moments when the feelings of anger and resentment will try to creep into your mind again. Do not resist them. Instead, acknowledge the thoughts then drive them fast out of your mind. Remind yourself that you are already free from them. Soon enough, they will die and you will find yourself a renewed and much stronger person; no longer hurt and bitter.”
Don’t let negative sticky words ruin your life. Overload your mind with good words, from a wise person, like these:
Close the curtains against the sleet and the hail and the wind and the rain, and rely on God to help you weather the storm.
KariAnne Woods, in So Close To Amazing
KariAnne Woods is a DIY Blogger at thistlewoodfarms.com. I have never made any of her lovely projects, but I read every blog post she writes. She’s a storyteller (and the inventor of “total asides”) and that’s why I keep going back. She has her first book coming out in September, and I was privileged to receive an early copy as part of the release promotion.
This book has a lot of sticky words. The good kind. The kind that make you feel amazing and enough and I’ve-got-this. I cried, laughed and enjoyed all the way through her book. We are supposed to be on Chapter Two this week, but I gobbled all those good sticky words at once, from the first to the final page. Greedy.
KariAnne’s book is available for pre-order on Amazon. I think you’ll want to read it as soon as it’s released.