Are you familiar with the mantra, “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones But Words Can Never Hurt Me?” I cannot begin to count the number of times my parents and teachers made me recite that affirmation during my adolescent years. Honestly, the mantra was believable and was great for me while it lasted. As I grew older, I faced the harsh reality of the power of words. I have stories but this one, in particular, did change my world.
Soon after getting my start in PR, I met someone whose opinion I considered for a number of reasons. I started to realize that there was no constructive criticism in our relationship. The feedback added no value to my situation and was nothing short of demeaning. We need to be responsible when sharing our words and that is a fact.
There was one defining moment for me when I shared a published press release. I was extremely excited. It was classed by that individual as “the most amount of sh*t” ever read and I was told to “quit, you are no good”. That statement did hurt but I dismissed it considering we were “friends.” The criticisms did not get any better and in retrospect, they were never constructive. Needless to say, that was the last time sharing my work because I was “shook” by the feedback.
Here I am, touching the surface of a conversation that was life altering for me. Truth is, the entire relationship forced me to adjust myself because I quickly realized that no positive thoughts resonated in the mind of this person. Nobody has the power to speak negativity into my life and future and I was being tried. That notion that I would not succeed in my field of choice was not something that I was willing to accept. Best believe I am extremely headstrong!
What did I do?
- I went to school! I was already contemplating my academic future prior to his harsh words. My first step was an Associate Degree in Journalism and Public Relations. Next up was my Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communication. After those, there were online courses, workshops and reading material. There are some things that I needed to know some, in my opinion.
- I opted to surround myself with a few like-minded individuals, who are still in my life to date.
- New situations and environments came my way and have been accepted. Where there is useful knowledge, I will soak it up.
After a few years of not seeing or speaking to the individual, we had an encounter and strangely the words “You are doing some great stuff I notice…” were murmured in reference to me. Imagine that? *laughs* Someone was paying attention. In my 13 Reasons Why post, one of the points covered learning.
I do hope that there is a lesson in this story for you. Really, I would want you to take away that words are powerful and they can change your world. In my case, had I chosen to listen to the non-helpful “advice”, I may have walked away from PR. Instead, I took those words and made them work for me.
- My wish is that you also take away the importance of choosing friends wisely; peoples’ energy can definitely mess with ours
- Another wish is that you recognize your potential
- Speak positivity into your life
- Grow; Growth is mandatory
- Remember your WHY (Peep my first blog ‘How I Found PR … Or Did It Find Me.’)
Until next time!