I just got finished watching a documentary on the composer Stephen Sondheim, and one of the things he talked about was an incident with his mother which propelled me to write this status. On her way to surgery, she handed him a note that read, “before I go to have my open-heart surgery, I want you to know my biggest regret in life: giving birth to you.” He said he was completely and utterly stunned and felt like a bullet hit him in the chest. Even today, he still sheds tears from the hurt those words caused him. We all know the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” If only that were true! But….it’s not! Words can hurt a lot more than sticks and stones. They may not break bones, but they can surely break hearts. Words can devastate. Words can wound; words can kill. Words can ruin reputations and destroy relationships. There’s just no doubt about it:words hurt. They leave long lasting emotional cuts and bruises…scars that don’t heal. When someone hurts us with their words, we play the tape over and over. No matter how many times we try to dismiss the hurtful tirade, the pain keeps coming back. There may be words from your childhood that you still can’t escape. Stupid. Fatso. Ugly. Lazy. Dummy. Loser. Moron. Sissy. Chicken. And on and on. It starts with one word when we’re young, but as we grow, the hurtful sentiments become phrases and even paragraphs. If we don’t find a way to heal, they can cause lasting, permanent damage. What’s so sad is that the people who verbally abuse are usually angry, bitter, resentful people who want everyone to be as miserable as they are. Their words are a reflection of their souls. The tongue only speaks what comes from the heart. Today I am suggesting that we ALL pay careful attention to what we say. We can destroy someone or we can build someone up with just our words. I know, especially as a Life Coach, that my words have healed many who have been scarred. Remember, words can be weapons. Words can destroy. The scars they leave can be more painful than a physical assault. Broken bones heal, but a broken spirit takes much longer…and sometimes never does!