Words Hurt

Mike - Overland Park, Kansas
Entered on December 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

As long as I’m being honest, I’ll be the first to admit it. Throughout my life I have been both victim of bullying, and a participator in the bullying of others. I believe very strongly that whether I want to believe it or not, my words influence others. What’s more, for a long portion of my life those words have influenced others in a mostly negative way.

I truly believe that the way I influence others directly correlates to the way that others have influenced me. Growing up, I have experienced my fair share of bullying. When I was very young, the words of my fellow classmates drastically altered the way I viewed myself. They would regularly say things that poked fun at, the way I looked, the fact that I was a good student, and even whom I associated with.

Over the years the words of others made me come to think that I was ugly, useless and better off not existing. However, I believe that I made a very wrong choice in what I did next. Rather than trying to let myself, let go of all of the things that people had called me, I withdrew from everyone and everything. I feel that many people draw away from the people and things they love, in a last-ditched effort to not feel pain.

In my own experiences, life has taught me that doing this will only worsen the situations that I have found, and will come to find myself in. As the years wore on, I began to hurt others with my own words. When others would make fun of me, I would instantly throw it back on them, or another innocent bystander. I had joined the ranks of the very same people that had hurt me.

It is my firm belief that most people who are bitter, cynical, or mean, are, themselves, merely victims of past aggressions. This is, however, no excuse to be that way. I consider this to be the easy way out. If I turn around and do onto others what I would not have done onto me, how am I any better than them?

Something that I found to have helped me influence others in a positive way, rather than a negative one, is posing myself with this question, each and every day. How will I influence others today?

It is my firmest and most beloved belief, that a large goal, like influencing others in a positive way is achieved through small, random actions. It can be as simple as a smile, and a wave to a stranger, or as complex as taking the time to help a friend through a struggle. After all, you never know how your actions will influence another.