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PostSubject: Sticks and Stones   Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:18 am

Sticks and Stones


“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”


My grandmother used to say this to me as a child and I always believed it was true – for her. I could not imagine any word that would offend or upset my grandmother. As for me, one who had experienced name-calling, could not comprehend this wise little saying. Of course words hurt. They hurt and last longer than anything physical. Bruises heal. So do cuts. But words? Depending on the person giving you the name, can last a lifetime.



(I must confess that even when my grandmother would say this I don’t think I really believed her. Even at the young age of ten I thought this was a clever saying to hide behind, a way of not letting others see the hurt they caused.)

And there was no way I could believe it of myself. I had been hurt. I had been called names. Didn’t she understand that? Names were sharper than any stick and carried more weight than any stone.

Sticks and stones seem easier to handle by comparison; at least you had a fighting chance. You could brace yourself, dodge them, block them, or heck you even had the option of striking back. Sticks and stones are physical, tangible things. Clearly these are easier to deal with. These are things anybody could deal with, with very little coaching or training. Something built into our bodies - the survival instinct perhaps. So where is our mental survival instinct?

As for the intangible world (the name-calling) who can defend against these? We come into this world defenseless and by our very nature we believe everything adults say, for they are our teachers. If an adult gets mad at you, well it must be your fault. Think of the infinite names we’ve all been labeled with as children:

You’re so clumsy.
You’re not nice.
You’re in the way.
You’re so lazy.


The list is endless. And I am sure there are much worse names you can think of.



And so, as children we believe these words, they sink in, take hold and become reality. It defines who we are. We grow up (presumably), but the names are still attached to our consciousness, running (ruining?) the show. Now others begin to call us names, people at school, people we work with. And regardless of the truth or lie or motivation behind this perceived attack, we react to it. And in reacting to it, we accept it and make the name real. As children we feel defenseless, simply because we don’t know any better. We don’t reach the age of reason until age 8-10. So prior to that, any name thrown your way will stick, simply because we don’t have the mental capacity to reason.

Depending on your personality, you either attack or retreat from such assaults. Whichever the reaction, we are in fact strengthening those names, strengthening our hurts – we validate them, making those intangible words a reality, something that is real (at least to us). If we believe we need to defend ourselves by defending or attacking, we are sending the message that we need to be defended. And that message is being sent to the world, and it is being believed by you.

Let’s return to a physical attack. The sticks and stones of the matter. This kind of attack as mentioned earlier, is tangible. A punch in the eye has immediate results. And so we react accordingly. So how is it, when attacked with names, something that is not real, but only a perception, do we allow ourselves to react so strongly as to make it real?

If names cannot hurt us (and they can’t do us physical harm), why do we allow names to wound us so deeply? Why are these black-eyes to our self-esteem so monumental? And they never seem to heal, unlike a black eye?

Because we still believe the labels of our youth.
We have been conditioned for so long.


Every parent was once a child. And everyone has believed what they have been told. And these parents (wounded by their own environment), sometimes decide they will not do the same thing their parents did. Others decided they will do exactly as their own parents. And funny enough, there are those parents who invent entirely new ways of parenting (sometimes for good and sometimes for ill). Yet in every case, these parents raise their children to the best of their ability. Doing the very best they can with what they have. I know, there are some of you out there thinking: they certainly could have tried harder than that! But consider this quote from Kahlil Gibran:

Those who give you a serpent when you ask for a fish,
may have nothing but serpents to give.
- Sand and Foam


If you have parents who believe that names can hurt you, it is only natural that this will be passed down to the next generation. Whether we mean to or not, we shape our children’s self-esteem with unfair labels (names), when we should be teaching them the true wisdom behind this magical phrase: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

Names are not reality - unless you make them so.

There is no need to learn how to mentally fight names, no need to dodge, to defend or strike back, because to do any of these things mean you perceive the names as a real danger. If you don’t believe the names, what possible danger is there?

If someone calls you lazy (or worse) and you are not lazy, where is the problem? How can this affect you? This is like watching an invisible arrow missing its mark on an invisible bullseye. If you are wearing a green shirt and someone calls it red, do you believe them? Do you feel the need to question yourself? Do you question what you know to be true? As so, should you look at yourself, knowing with absolute confidence that your shirt is green and calling it another color does not change the shirt, or the person wearing it.

Some will argue that this sounds like a recipe for allowing yourself to be walked all over. I say this is a recipe for confidence, without arrogance.

The only way to teach our children (and each other) to correct this cycle, is to change it in you. By changing it in you, your children will learn by example. You cannot teach others what you yourself do not have.

Can you stop believing the lies you accepted (without knowing any better)? And can you do it without throwing stones at the people who called you names (understanding that they too are slaves to this vicious cycle)?
But then, the real question is: “Do you want to stop believing these names?” Because by not believing these names, means that you must give up revenge, or the satisfaction of striking back at others. Moreover, by no longer believing in these names, this will rob you of the ability to label others. And so I ask the question again: “Do you want to stop believing these names?”

Is there a sure, clear path to obtain this? Probably not. But you can recognize that names are not reality? It is you which makes any name true or false.



Recently I read that it is time to put this quote to rest. In this short piece, the author went on about how much names hurt, and what an impact they have. That this quote is false and how terrible it is to even think that names don’t hurt. The very idea of putting to rest this quote saddens me greatly. I do agree that names do hurt, and they hurt more than sticks and stones – but only if you allow it. Free yourself of these chains. Stop believing that names can hurt you. Start believing that names are not reality, but something intangible. Start believing that you are not a name, you are something greater and stronger than any name, any label.

In the same post, the author also added this: Remember your thoughts are not you. Yes they are. Your thoughts are exactly you. You can be nothing else but your thoughts. If you think you are lazy, then you are. Change your thoughts and you will change you.

It will help to repeat this phrase to yourself, especially in the face of a confrontation (as silly as you may feel, repeat it to yourself until you believe it). It will help to teach children this phrase so they begin to understand (remember they believe everything they are taught!). But consider this, when a name is directed at you and it causes an emotional response, the person or the name is not the enemy. The name is merely pointing out a hole in your self-view. It is for you to look at these areas in yourself. Where did this hole come from? Why do you react to it?

So you see, name-calling is a Holy thing. It is a shaft (stick) of light aimed right at a piece of darkness.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

BELIEVE IT.
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PostSubject: Re: Sticks and Stones   Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:26 pm


This is very helpful article and I believe it helped me much as it opened my eyes to things I have never thought of. I think this is one of the best topics I ever read in my whole life. You opened a topic which may be not explained by many but in reality It's very important to alot of people. Thanks for sharing.
cheers

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"He who fights monsters should see to it that in the process, he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you." - Nietzche
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PostSubject: Re: Sticks and Stones   Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:52 am

I do agree with Miro that this topic is a very good one...
When I was younger, I was sometimes bullied and that of course left some marks...
but later, i got to know Jesus Christ much closer, and he showed me the meaning of unconditional Love.
Love, that makes me forget all my wounds people caused me and made me able to forgive those people for what they've done , even if they're not sorry for this...
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PostSubject: Re: Sticks and Stones   Thu May 28, 2009 5:26 am

To me it's all about understanding what people are saying, and why they are saying it. If you understand that, it's often not insulting. Sometimes I get upset because of people's consciousness, that they would think some things. I'm not upset by little words people say, because those don't mean anything, they're just emotional outbursts.
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PostSubject: Re: Sticks and Stones   Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:36 pm

sticks and stones may break your bones but words can break your heart
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PostSubject: Re: Sticks and Stones   Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:01 am

This is really nice format of the article, I just want to say that. This is a metaphor I'm really interested in, I'm just reading now...
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PostSubject: Re: Sticks and Stones   Sat Jun 27, 2009 8:19 am

Quote :
Remember your thoughts are not you. Yes they are. Your thoughts are exactly you. You can be nothing else but your thoughts.

You can though... you can be nothing.

Quote :
Sticks and stones seem easier to handle by comparison; at least you had a fighting chance. You could brace yourself, dodge them, block them, or heck you even had the option of striking back. Sticks and stones are physical, tangible things.
There are so many great observations here.

Words are not nothing. Words are real and are physical. Scientists can measure their decible and pitch. Linguists can categorize their syntactic structure. Are words more powerful than guns? The old pen or the sword problem. Free-speech is not dangerous to the authorities provided someone doesn't write real poison pen letters, or he does not spit bullets when he speaks: the authorities know that words are weak, books can't stop tanks. Yet, words can be profoundly powerful, when used as weapons. Teachers of culture everywhere have this power.

Because the World is in your mind: the objective is inside the subjective, we have to give equal reality status, subjectively to both words and to rocks.

Physicalizing versus internalizing are mirror processes.

Quote :
Let’s return to a physical attack. The sticks and stones of the matter. This kind of attack as mentioned earlier, is tangible. A punch in the eye has immediate results. And so we react accordingly. So how is it, when attacked with names, something that is not real, but only a perception, do we allow ourselves to react so strongly as to make it real?
Pol Pot, engineer of the Cambodia genocide held, that re-education was impossible. That bad habits, like stable vices in horses, and neurosis in cats, dogs, etc, are incurable; hence, the Cambodian revolution did not employ the mass re-education camps that the Chinese did: instead those with Western opinions were erradicated. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Never mind that; You can take the boy out of America, but you can't take the America out of the boy.

Total Descartes style doubt, Socratic 'I know nothing' is impossible?

Quote :
You’re so clumsy.
You’re not nice.
You’re in the way.
You’re so lazy.

The list is endless. And I am sure there are much worse names you can think of.
Yes. We have to forget about these names. Can we?

Quote :
Depending on your personality, you either attack or retreat from such assaults.

This is the God's-eye view. Not the objective line, not the subjective line. "Neither a borrower nor a lender be." Non-intervention.

Quote :
Whichever the reaction, we are in fact strengthening those names, strengthening our hurts – we validate them, making those intangible words a reality, something that is real (at least to us). If we believe we need to defend ourselves by defending or attacking, we are sending the message that we need to be defended.

The sage who does not reflex when a burning candle is put to him has the same total emptiness of mind to forget not only the world, but also all those bad ideas. Becase thinking is suffering, every thought we have is the backing-up of energy not nihilating instantaneously.

Quote :
when a name is directed at you and it causes an emotional response, the person or the name is not the enemy. The name is merely pointing out a hole in your self-view. It is for you to look at these areas in yourself. Where did this hole come from? Why do you react to it?
That hole, is nothing, and it is you: God's total freedom, undefined, not an object, not even an idea: nothing.

Quote :
So you see, name-calling is a Holy thing. It is a shaft (stick) of light aimed right at a piece of darkness.
The suspension of all belief, total doubt: what would be the darkest night of faith -- is in fact the beatific vision of a cosmic re-birth in the white light.
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