How To Get Over Hurtful Words…easier than it sounds
If only this pithy little truism actualized it’s content. For most of us earth folk, bones heal fairly quick whereas words cause emotional fractures that last a lifetime.
“You’re not good enough”
“You’ll always be a nobody.”
“You did a shitty job.”
“You’re a loser.”
“You’re a waste of space and air.”
When these types of phrases are slung our way they seemingly get embedded in our brain synapses.
They forge, what Albert Ellis called, “conditional self acceptance.”
They end up being the key ingredients to our self-ranking, so we bench ourselves in the game of life and spectate.
We just end up placing far too many conditions on our experience to come out and play.
Words are so damn powerful.
It’s usually far more subtle.
Maybe it’s a parent or guardian providing their opinion on career choice, or a peer saying words about the clothes you decided to wear. Perhaps it was something said to us out of anger.
The point is, words affect us one way or another. Fortunately, we CAN determine how they affect us.
In this article, I’m going to give you the most ridiculously powerful brain hack so words can never make mincemeat of you again.
How To Get Over Hurtful Words?… are just vibrations
Visualization is a powerful ally.
The unconscious cannot differentiate between a visualization and reality.
This is the raw power of perception.
In Psychology Today, A.J. Adams in notes some startlingly research:
A study looking at brain patterns in weightlifters found that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when they only imagined lifting. In some cases, research has revealed that mental practices are almost effective as true physical practice. For instance, in his study on everyday people, Guang Yue, an exercise psychologist from Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, compared results of those who did physical exercises to the results of those who carried out virtual workouts in their heads.
In the physical exercise group, finger abduction strength increased by 53%. In the group that did “mental contractions”, their finger abduction strength increased by 35%. However, “the greatest gain (40%) was not achieved until 4 weeks after the training had ended” (Ranganathan et al., 2004). This demonstrates the mind’s incredible power over the body and its muscles.
We can use this same practice to render those who wish to verbally cause us pain utterly ineffective.
How? The brain doesn’t need brick and mortar to emotionally regulate disturbances. For example, the research has shown that the mere act of visualizing successful social encounters – we’re talking using solely the imagination – has helped significantly treat individuals suffering from social anxiety and social phobia.
The nervous system habituates as if the interaction were real.
Brilliant! So, where should we begin?
I want you to visualize what occurs when someone speaks and you listen.
First the vocal cords of another are stimulated.
This creates a vibration that produces a sound that is carried to the tiny hairs cells in your ears.
The tiny hair cells in your inner ear send electrical signals to the auditory nerve which is connected to the auditory centre of your brain where the electrical impulses are perceived by the brain as sound.
This then produces a cascade of other mechanisms that trigger meaning.
In other words, your brain then takes this vibration and transforms it into meaning using the patterns of language you’ve been taught.
You gather the vibration, break it down into coherent data, then interpret the data using words.
However, before this process kicks everything into motion, all you have is vibrations.
You create the meaning, not the person who created the vibration.
The ball is in your court.
Hurtful Words Are Not Granted Access
Sometimes you just have to let it be a vibration; access to meaning is denied. The speaker failed the biometric security system and didn’t have the necessary clearance to access your storehouse of data. They offered nothing more than a vibration. Bon voyage!
Keeping in mind the unmitigated power of visualization, I usually visualize the vibration as a coin. Namely, I watch as the vibration slowly merges many pieces into a solid coin. Then I place the coin into a vending machine. I visualize the snack I’m going to choose, watch it dispense, and then munch on that delicious treat.
I visualize the tastes, the smell, and the glory!
Remember, your brain cannot tell the difference. Make the vibration mean something that serves you.
You don’t have to go through an entire visualization sequence as I do; realizing that you de-code the vibration to mean a particular thing may be powerful enough. It’s up to you.
The Epictetus Power Move…you create the hurtful words!
“Remember, that not he who gives ill language or a blow insults, but the principle which represents these things as insulting. When, therefore, anyone provokes you, be assured that it is your own opinion which provokes you.”
If you can wrap your head around this, your entire emotional economy will be revolutionized.
Let me provide a diagram.
If person A complains that person B is disturbing him, he would have to admit this statement is misleading.
Rather, person A’s interpretation of person B’s words are the cause of the disturbance.
The interpretation is based on our core beliefs, culture, genetics, experience, trauma and conditioning, religion or lack thereof, stress, relationships, our physical health, and many others.
The point is to always remember, before you endow the sound with meaning, it’s just a vibration.
Our brain is our inner sanctuary. It’s the one area of complete and unadulterated freedom.
Epictetus again recognizes this virtue when he wrote,
“If a person gave away your body to some passerby, you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled—have you no shame in that?”
Isn’t it odd how desperately we fight to maintain freedom over our individual bodies, which can in fact be taken from us, yet are so lax regarding our minds, which cannot in fact be taken from us without our consent?
Guard your mind more diligently.
Never forget, before sounds become meaningful words they’re just meaningless vibrations.
If where our attention goes, our energy flows, then the brilliant pen of Marky Mark is a solid compass; heed only the “good vibrations.”
I apologize if that caused you emotional pain 😉
I’ve found tremendous success with this visualization and insight. What have you found? Do you use another strategy? Leave it in the comments below!