We're all familiar with the old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Dr. Robin says that is one of the biggest lies she's ever heard, because words do hurt us. "Of course sticks and stones and guns and billy clubs harm us, but really what creates the deepest and most profound injury in you and in me are words," she says.
While it's important to learn how to manage situations where other people use unkind words, negativity or insults toward us—whether it's at work, in your marriage or with your family and friends—Dr. Robin says we can't simply ignore the fact that words can be harmful. "If you are really showing up like a grown-up in your life—you're emotionally and spiritually alive and healthy—people's words do impact you," she says.
If you don't pay attention to words, Dr. Robin says you may rob yourself of self-respect and even go so far as to contribute to or perpetuate the problem. But if you let yourself feel the impact of the words that are spoken to you, then you can properly assess how to react with your best interest in mind. "Own and ask the question to analyze whether the words that are being spoken in your life right now empower you or disempower you," Dr. Robin says.