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Sticks and stones...

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

I've come to realize over the past few days, that this is one of the dumbest phrases that I've ever read.

The fact is that words said publicly or privately, whether they are said in honesty or in jest, can and will hurt when they are meant to. And I'm not just talking about a wounded ego. Sometimes the words can strike a chord so deep inside, it's a heartache that is second only to the loss of a lover. It's a devastation felt that makes your heart drop out of your chest and hit the floor with an audible "THUD". And don't forget the level of disappointment in the people we believed wanted only the best for us, but the words formed on their lips or under their fingers on a keyboard show a different side to their intentions.

It makes me wonder what it's like for politicians during their campaigns. How can they just sit back and watch when their opponents drag their names and reputations through the proverbial mud puddle? More to the point, what about their families? How can a spouse, a child, a parent keep a civil tongue when outright lies or despising comments are spread about their family member to an entire community?

I still don't know, nor do I think I will ever understand the power of the loose tongue. Lord knows I've been guilty of it myself in the past - "sharing" my feelings on a person or topic of discussion before really thinking through the repurcussions of my words. But may I always be reminded of the effects of these last few days - they weren't actual sticks or stones that were hurled, and they didn't leave visible bruises, but the sting and the hurt that was felt was painful just the same.

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