Words are powerful.
With the best intentions and the worst intentions, your words can build a person up or tear them down in no time at all. When I was growing up, my mom always told us that our words are like toothpaste, and once they’re out, you can’t put it back in. She was trying to teach us to use our words nicely.
There are times in life when you don’t know what to say – a death, a diagnosis, an accident, a miscarriage, the list goes on and on. Maybe you find yourself saying what you think would make someone else feel better without even realizing that what you said actually hurt them instead?
Choose your words wisely.
Last year, our third child, Sutton, was born with a surprise dwarfism diagnosis. In the last six months, I’ve really come to realize how what people say can really affect you. I’ve heard things like:
- We’re praying for a miracle.
- I’m so sorry.
- She’s perfect for her purpose.
- She could grow into her bones. She hasn’t been genetically tested.
- Does she really have dwarfism??
And with each response we get, I want to get mad and respond. But instead, I usually just walk away because it’s just not worth it.
Were these things the wrong things to say? Not necessarily.
Were they the right things to say? Maybe.
Looking back, I see so many times that I have personally opened my mouth and inserted my foot. Man, how I wish I could take those times back. And if I did this to you, I’m so incredibly sorry. Truly. I honestly do not think people mean any harm or intentionally say something to hurt you. I think people just don’t know what to say.
What to say?
What could you say? I’ve been asking myself lately what I want people to say. To be truthful, I don’t know what to tell you. Each situation and person are going to be different. I just want you to realize that your words are powerful, and as soon as they’re out, you can’t put them back. So next time someone is faced with a difficult circumstance and you’re not familiar with what they’re going through, maybe you don’t need to say anything at all. Maybe they just need you to listen.
I want you to know that we are so extremely blessed with Sutton. Period!! We love everything about her. And just like every “normal” child, she’s going to have things we’re going to have to deal with. Could it be so much worse? ABSOLUTELY. And we know this. But it is also hard to see the suffering and pain she may have to face. As parents, we want the absolute best for our children and to take away anything that could hurt them.
So I beg you … please stop, listen, and think before you speak.