“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
While I don’t necessarily agree with this age-old adage, it certainly holds some truth. Words can, in fact, be hurtful. But it doesn’t mean that words can break you the way the person saying them intends to; you can choose to take the high road.
In Gandhi’s 10 Rules for Changing the World by Henrik Edberg, the second assertion is that you are in control. “What you feel and how you react to something is always up to you,” says Edberg. And I agree with this. While we have been trained to react in our emotions. This is an increasingly popular sentiment in today’s society–we feel entitled to our feelings.
And to some degree, I agree with this statement. Your feelings are real and you have to find a way to deal with them. These means of working through feelings vary from person to person, but there are certainly ways. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to let your feelings impact your day-to-day interactions. Just because you and your sister are going through a rough time in your relationship, doesn’t mean you have to let you and your best friends’ relationship suffer, too.
Instead, you control your reactions. How? Compartmentalization. Once you realize how to separate different aspects of your life, you can control your reactions and thoughts. You can choose to let the negativity permeate your life, or let positivity rule. It may not be an easy transition, but there is a way to train yourself to make positivity a habit. As you continue to train yourself, you grow stronger.
This article took me back to a Ted Talk about body language, which is also a huge factor of reactions and demeanor. Strong body language makes you feel good, and also changes peoples’ perceptions of you. Check out below what Amy Cuddy has to say about the power of body language, and consider how you can start to react more positively.
Annie Kate Swain