We all have traumas we need to heal and lessons to learn from them. These are the most hurtful words I have heard and what they have taught me.
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If something can break you, it can also make you.
Words are like a sword. They can pinch straight through your heart. While those who say the hurtful words might not be aware of the damage they do, it takes a long time, even a lifetime to heal from the wound.
My life up to this point is not difficult. Actually, I consider myself a lucky person and I will always be grateful for what I have. But there are several times I broke down because of something people said. And worse, it hurts more when the words are from someone you care about.
So here are the most hurtful words I have ever heard. By writing them down, I honor my feelings that were buried for a long time. And if you were also hurt at some point, I hope you feel less alone. And never forget that if you were hurt but survived, you can heal and become a stronger person.
The most hurtful words I have ever heard
I wish you were a boy.
This came from my father. Our relationship wasn’t rough at all; at least, that was what I thought. As I can remember, my father was absent most of the time in my childhood. I felt like I needed to be outstanding to get his attention. The urge to be loved pushed me to work hard when I was still a kid. But I never knew that the effort was pointless until I was 18.
That was the year I got into the best college in my hometown. So I called to tell him the news. He was happy for me and proud like I expected. But what I didn’t expect was what he said right after.
“I don’t want a daughter. When you were born, I wish you were a boy. But here you go. Look how far you’ve come.”
His words were like lightning that stroke straight to the heart. I never knew the real reason for his lack of attention and care until that day. Then I found out it was something I couldn’t change – my gender. It was more traumatic when I, at the age of 27, found out about his affairs and two siblings I had never met.
Was it all my fault? That my family is broken because I am a girl? Years passed by, and I never stopped wondering.
You are not smart but hardworking.
I went to primary school one year earlier than other kids. That means I was the youngest child in my class and probably in the entire grade.
That put tremendous pressure on me as I couldn’t catch up with my peers. I found my grades constantly at the bottom of my class. To me, others were smarter and knew so much more.
So I knew I had to change. Instead of working harder, I need to work smarter. So I took smarter and more organized notes. I reviewed and reflected on what I learned each day when the memory was still fresh. And asking questions also helped immensely.
These learning habits helped me to catch up. And on the 5th grade, I was among the best in my class. But then something happened when I finally came first in a final exam.
My math teacher applauded me for my progress in front of the whole class. Then, she added that “Emma is not smart. But she is hardworking.” Still to this day, I can recall the disgust in my stomach when I heard her words.
Hardworking is not something you should be ashamed of. But labeling a child as “not smart” seemed to have crossed the line. Her words made me question my potential. Do I have what it takes to achieve more? Am I the stupid kid that knows nothing but to outwork others?
You will never make it on your own.
I love my mom. She raised me almost single-handedly. But, she cared about me too much to let me take risks and challenge myself.
When I planned to launch this blog, I told her about the idea. Starting a business was not strange to her. My father did so. But a few critical bad decisions bankrupted him, and he never recovered from it.
“You will never make it on your own.” She said.
My mom wanted me to be a school teacher like her. It is a stable and well-paid job. “You don’t have to worry about losing everything in one day.”
Though I knew what she said came from good intentions. But denying me before I even made the first step was detrimental. In the times when I desperately needed support, I got disappointment instead.
As I mentioned earlier, I had mixed feelings for my father. And that feelings peaked when he passed away a year ago.
I was devastated to see him go so suddenly. But at the same time, I was angry about his betrayal. And I lost the chance to confront him forever.
There I found myself sitting in the lounge facing the brothers and sisters of my dad. They have helped him to hide the truth from us for a decade. At first, my plan was to stay mature and deal with everything I needed to deal with elegantly. But eventually, my emotions piled up and tipped.
I cried as I accused them of lying and my dad of cheating. “You all are accomplices that steal my childhood.”
Like a baby, I used tears and screaming to express my sadness and get attention.
“What is done is done. Grow up.” That was from one of my uncles, and I didn’t see that coming. Instead of an apology or a pat on the back, I got a “grow up.”
What I’ve learned from those hurtful words
Those were the most hurtful words I have ever heard. What happened next, you may ask.
Today as I am typing this post, I no longer feel hurt. Being wronged is not what I opt for. But healing is a choice we all need to make. So I choose to move on instead of dwelling on the pettiness. And here are the precious lessons I learn in the healing process.
It’s not my job to change what others think.
I understand that my father wanted a boy instead of a girl. But it’s not my job to reason with his preference. People want what they want. But you are not born to this world to be liked or to prove others wrong. You are here for yourself.
My dad made me believe that I had to overachieve for love and approval. But knowing what I know now, I refuse to take this belief with me anymore. Instead, I choose to love myself for myself.
Return the beliefs others put on you
I also understand that a comment isn’t necessarily a fact. People say what they want to say, and sometimes words can be damaging. But just because someone thinks that you are not smart, capable, worthy or beautiful doesn’t mean it’s true.
As Marisa Peer said in her RTT course, a belief isn’t going to hurt you unless you let it in. As a kid, it’s easy to internalize those limiting beliefs. But now you are a grown-up, you have a choice to give those beliefs back.
Based on the abundance system of Marisa, I created a workbook that helps you identify your toxic beliefs and a roadmap on how to break them. You can download it for free and pinpoint the thoughts holding you back.
You have a choice
What my uncle said might be irresponsible, but he had a point. I was not the vulnerable girl who needed attention and care to survive on this planet. And I will not let that childhood miseries affect my present and my future.
I am a grown-up. And I have a choice to let go, heal, and move on from the past. Yes, I can hold grudges and blame everyone who once hurt me. But that would eventually hurt me again and again.
So I choose to move forward. As Marisa said, if life is a clock, your childhood is the first 10 minutes. Don’t let it affect the rest 50 minutes.
We’ve all gone through tough situations. And with social media, nasty comments are everywhere. So when faced with hurtful words, remember you always have a choice to let it in or not.
And the point of addressing the hurtful words we’ve heard is not to hurt yourself again or blame anyone. Instead, it’s about honoring your feelings, knowing that you can also heal if you survive the hurt.
Read also: 27 Toxic family quotes to leave for good