All about the mind

The curse of words #FridayReflections

Words are a writer’s greatest gift. In fact, most of us wouldn’t be writers if we didn’t love words. But as a psychologist, I am also aware that words, or at least the meaning we attach to them, can cause us a whole lot of grief. When we attach meaning to words, we experience emotions like anxiety, sadness, anger, guilt, or shame. When we get hooked on to these words, we make them bigger than they are.

In my line of work, I see several young girls who get extremely hurt when someone calls them ‘slut’. I remember asking one of them once if they thought they were a slut. ‘No, of course not!’ she replied. ‘So why then, does it bother you if someone says it?’ I asked. My clients almost always have arguments ready. ‘Others shouldn’t call me that’ or ‘it’s just plain rude’. And while I agree it’s rude, at the same time, aren’t we giving the person and the word a whole lot of power by hooking on to it? By giving it so much meaning?

In the same way, we can get attached to supposedly positive labels. A child who is labelled as inherently gifted and who gets too attached to this label is likely to base their entire self-worth upon this. If there is anything that happens to threaten their ‘gifted’ label, they are then likely to crumble. They’d rather choose something easy so as to keep up to the label than choose something challenging and god forbid, fail.

Whether comments are good or bad, the minute we attach meaning to it, we let it affect us. We let it define us. I have been guilty of this too. How else would I explain thinking I’m not good enough? I have let those comments get to me. I have let myself believe people’s comments meant something.

It’s not easy to ignore those. And that’s not what is recommended. Yes, words can hurt. But, and this is a very big but, it’s only when we allow them to affect us that badly. We can choose to tell ourselves they are just words. They are just someone’s opinion and it doesn’t mean anything. Of course, it’s easier said than done. But if we just practice it regularly and remind ourselves that they are just words, maybe then we wouldn’t feel so anxious, sad, ashamed, guilty or angry.

Maybe then, we’d be well.

How do you go with getting hooked on to words by others?

Are you able to distance yourself from the words? Or do you let them define you?

Do share!

Living my Imperfect Life

If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away.

Write Tribe and yours truly give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up every Friday. The link will be open till the Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.

Feel free to add our Friday Reflections badge to your post or sidebar! Follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group. Share your post on social media with the hashtag #FridayReflections.

Prompts for this week

1. Write a poem that is about a brick wall – whether literally or figuratively

2. Write about a point in life where things turned for the better or worse

3. A well-loved toy from my childhood

4. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, This is my Story. Use this is a post of your own

5. Picture Prompt (copyright Living my Imperfect Life)


Our featured writer for last week was Eloquent Mind who shared the sights, sounds and memories outside her window.

Do link up this week and spread the love! 

Until next time,



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  • Suzy
    12 August 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I think it’s very hard to embrace Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote when you are young and vulnerable. But as you grow older and more sure of yourself, you find the confidence to brush off the words that don’t serve your purpose. btw I think her quote is awesome.
    Suzy recently posted…Patsy My #Doll #FridayReflectionsMy Profile

  • Pratikshya
    13 August 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I too have a problem detaching myself from words… sad.. words go on and on in my brain without a switch off button.. be it praise or criticism.. but yes time takes care of it all…
    Pratikshya recently posted…Memoir Writing – Family Tales 2My Profile

  • Eli
    14 August 2016 at 7:01 am

    I have become good at Detaching myself from other people opinions.. but it can be hard – a well written and good reminder Sanch:-)
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  • Rajlakshmi
    15 August 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Yes words can hurt … a lot. And even though the physical wounds heal, the scars caused by words take a long time to fade away. It’s terrible that young girls are exposed to such rude comments. They are young and probably not even mature to understand how to react. I like how you are helping them and as a result helping the society to overcome this. Detachment is the key, but I feel that comes with a lot of experience and will.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Independence Day – A mirage in Assam?My Profile

  • Payal Agarwal
    15 August 2016 at 8:40 pm

    I’ve learnt that we can’t control what people think of us but we can definitely choose to forgive as it’s important for our own peace of mind.
    Payal Agarwal recently posted…Brick wallsMy Profile

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