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Why Words Hurt You

Takesure loves sharing his real life experiences. He has written extensively about them.

The Football Debate

The other day someone on a social media sports discussion group I’m a part of posted something to the effect that Jürgen Klopp, current Liverpool manager, was the best manager ever. “When I was at Mainz, the whole of Mainz knew me, When I was at Borrussia Dortmund the whole of Germany knew me. Now at Liverpool, the whole world knows me,” beamed the caption the guy posted.

“Jürgen Klopp took lowly Mainz from Bundesliga 2 (Germany’s second tier football league) to a middle of the table Bundesliga (Germany’s top flight league) team before leaving to join Borrussia Dortmund. He did such a great job with Mainz albeit with a shoe string budget,” he added. “He took Borrussia Dortmund from a middle of the table club to the German Bundesliga title, not once but twice. Even better, he did it back to back and in style. Don’t forget he reached the European Cup final too with that Dortmund side,” he went on.

“Liverpool had been reduced from perennial title contenders to battling mid-tablers, occasionally dicing with relegation. They had even finished thirteenth in recent seasons and celebrated the Football League Cup like it was the UEFA Champions League. The team and us fans alike had become so accustomed to mediocrity that the Football League Cup was now such a celebrated honour for us,” he continued.

“Now enter Jürgen Klopp! Liverpool was middle of the table when Klopp arrived sometime in September of 2015. The team went on to finish eighth on the table that season and reached the UEFA Europa League final which they were unfortunate to lose to Sevilla. To date Liverpool has played in four finals, winning one. That’s what you call a manager, a real manager not the likes of Pep Guardiola,” he kept going.

“Klopp has achieved so much with a very limited budget. That’s the mark of a great manager! Pep Guardiola, Manchester City manager, on the other hand is not a good manager. He has always relied heavily on a huge spending budgets at all the clubs he has managed,” he wasn't relenting. “Give Pep a middle of the table club like Westham or Burnley and see him fail dismally. There, he’ll not be afforded the luxury of buying every player he wants on the market and will be proven the fake he actually is.” He chuckled.

“Klopp is Pep’s lion! Pep will soon run away from him, I can tell you this!” Another Liverpool supporter joined in. “What with the league already out of his reach and perennial champions league troubles? His millions have failed to buy him success this time around. I wonder where he is going to run away to this time. Oh let me guess; Juventus in Italy or a return to Barcelona perhaps?” He said with a cheeky smile.

“Klopp is definitely riding the crest of the wave at the moment. Liverpool fans must enjoy it while it lasts. The bubble will soon burst,” another group member responded. “The bubble almost always burst! It has happened before, remember? Klopp cut a sullen figure week in week out as he desperately fought relegation with his Dortmund side in his last season in the Bundesliga,” he added.

“Klopp left Dortmund in huff after a forgettable season in which he not only was in a relegation dog fight but was also frequently in trouble because of his combustible nature,” I joined in. “He’s a very good manager, no doubt! However, he isn’t so good when things are going pear-shaped. He doesn’t know how to handle things when they aren’t going his way. Remember him clashing with referees at the touchline as his Dortmund side hung precariously close to the drop zone? He isn’t as special as you guys want us to believe,” I added.

“The Premier League has seen great managers. What has Klopp achieved in the Premier League so far to even warrant being compared to Pep who has won two Premier League titles back to back? Arsene Wenger, former Arsenal manager, who won three league title during his reign, has done way better than Klopp to date,” responded another group member. “Klopp should be compared to Claudio Ranieri, former Leicester City manager, not Pep; it’s an insult to Pep given Pep’s achievements!” He added.

“No man! You can’t compare Klopp with Ranieri! Ranieri actually won the Premier League with Leicester City a few seasons back!” I chimed in. “So far Klopp has only been good enough to be a nearly man as far as the Premier League is concerned. He should be compared with Brendan Rodgers instead. Grab a glass of water you Liverpool fans otherwise your jealous of Pep’s achievements will choke you hahaha!” I continued.

This angered the guy who had started the discussion with that Klopp caption. He went ballistic, I couldn’t believe it! The other members who were participating didn’t believe too! “I told you before that we don’t know each other. If you disrespect my contributions here I’ll come after you. You want to be a bully here? You’re very stupid! Just because you have data to be online today you want to disrespect me. This platform is all peaceful when you don’t have data, you know,” he exploded.

There was deafening silence on the group as the guy ranted and ranted. You could almost touch the sound of the silence of the rest of the group. To say that I was surprised that this guy had taken a sports discussion personally is an understatement. After he was finished, I told him that I was only interested in discussing the football topic of the day: “Is Klopp that special?” I wasn’t interested in a war of words. “I’d like to think I’m way bigger than that!” I concluded.

Why Words Hurt You

A friend of a friend of mine on the group joined in the discussion. Instead of him taking sides in the war, he changed the subject altogether. A mutual friend of ours, Stonewall, wedded a few years ago. Sambo and I were part of the groom’s men party. We would go on to dance, with our partners, at Stonewall’s wedding party. Before the party, we practiced the dance moves with the help of a choreographer friend of Stonewall’s, Ned.

Sambo went back to that dance practice. He began making fun of my poor dancing skills. He went on and on about how I messed up every move. “Big bro you aren’t born to dance!” He said with a huge smile on his face. He deliberately ignored the fact that I danced better than Harper, the groom’s brother. Other group members joined in and the discussion became quite comical and humorous. Before long the tension that had built moments prior was diffused.

The other guy’s ranting and name calling got me thinking. Have you ever thought about what people say to you? Have you ever considered how these utterances affect your life? Words can really shape who you turn out to be. Words can make you turn out to be grumpy, angry or hurt. Without knowing it you start attaching certain emotions to certain words in ways that alter your daily life as years pass by.

If someone calls you stupid, lazy, poor, ugly, fat or hopeless, it can hurt. What’s even worse is when you attach an emotion to each one of those words. You feel anger, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness and many other negative emotions based on the words you hear. Those emotion packed words can stay with you for years. You suffer from hurtful words and allow them to create negative physical changes; tears, depression and desire to get even.

Do words said to you a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, or maybe a decade ago still bother you? My grandmother used to tell me when I was a little boy that we weren’t friends with our then neighbours, the Mutetwa’s, because Mrs Mutetwa had called her a witch when my father was a little boy. I grew up thinking the Mutetwa’s are our enemies, just because a single member of their household had called my grandma a witch a long time ago.

Sounds funny, right? I don’t think so! Search within your circles, you’ll find that my grandma wasn’t alone. We have people who have held grudges for a lifetime because of the negative emotions they attach to certain words said to them by others. This in turn has deprived them of true happiness for a lifetime. The words have broken them for life. They just can’t let go of the negative emotions!

Do you realise that the true meaning of words said to you is the one you assign to them? That meaning you assign to them gives them the power to hurt you. If someone calls you stupid, for example, you either begin to see yourself as being truly stupid and begin to feel sorry for yourself. You can be angry that he called you stupid when you’re actually not stupid and go out guns blazing after him. Either way you wind up unhappy or hurt.

Words Shouldn't Hurt You

You can however choose to disempower the words that cause you negative emotions. Stop providing the words with the power to negatively affect you. Take away their capacity to hurt you. Refuse to associate a negative emotion with any word said about you! Stop for a moment, make a conscious effort not to be emotional about it. Tell yourself he’s just said something plain and simple, something for which you don’t attach an emotion at all in your life.

Make the word stupid sound like any plain word in your life for which you don’t attach a negative emotion. Make the words, “You’re stupid” sound to you like, “You’re wearing black shoes.” Better even, attach a positive emotion. Attach an emotion of joy or affection instead. Say, “I like your sense of humour,” and laugh hysterically at the comment. When you make an intended hurtful comment or tag sound like a harmless joke, it in fact makes it harmless.

Remember if someone calls you stupid, it’s only his opinion. Nothing factual there! So say to yourself, “He thinks I’m stupid? Well, that’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it. His opinion isn’t my reality though, I know I’m not stupid and his comment doesn’t change anything in my life. My value to the world isn’t determined by his opinion. Maybe it’s him who’s stupid after all.”

When you refuse to attach a negative emotion to a bad tag someone has given you, it loses all its power to hurt you or make you unhappy. Words hurt you when you allow them to by attaching negative emotions to them, in the process giving them meanings that hurt. Make a conscious choice to assign meanings to words that will not take away your happiness. This way you assign meanings that are supportive to your confidence, happiness and emotional well-being.

© 2020 Takesure Danga

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