You’re stupid. You’re ugly. You’re not likeable. You’ll never amount to anything. You’re not enough.

These are lies I’ve been told. They are lies I believed for a long, long time. It’s taken me years to rid myself of these lies. And, to be perfectly honest, there are still times when I hear them whispering in the back of my mind.

I’ve heard that it takes ten positive statements to counteract one negative comment. I believe it. If, during the course of a day, five people compliment me on my outfit but one asks if I’ve gained weight, which comment do you think I’ll remember?

I’ve spent a lot of my time with young people countering lies they’ve believed. Healthy young women believe they’re fat. Handsome young men believe they’re goofy looking. Intelligent young people believe they’re stupid. Young adults who are capable of conquering the world believe they’re losers. It’s tragic.

There’s been a lot of stuff in the media lately in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death. One thing really stands out. Apparently his father nicknamed him “Big Nose” when he was a child. I think I see the root of his addiction to cosmetic surgery.

I don’t know why we believe the lies, especially when there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. What I do know is that we need to be very careful that we’re only speaking loving, kind, encouraging truth over the people in our lives.

That includes teasing, by the way. In our house we have a rule. If it’s sensitive, we don’t pick at it. Our very bright son went through a period of time when he felt dumb. During that time jokes about him doing something less than bright weren’t allowed. The Furry Guy was once sensitive about losing his hair. Bald jokes were out. I’ve always been sensitive about my weight. I can joke about my big tushie. Others can’t.

The old saying about sticks and stones isn’t true. Words can hurt. Lies can scar. Be careful what words you use.


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