“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” ~ Zig Ziglar
It is no secret that Disney’s movie Frozen has become a worldwide phenomenon. I cannot lie. I loved the movie. In fact I even went to see it twice at the theater, which is something I only do for movies I really, really love. Above all the great songs on the soundtrack, the song Let It Go has truly taken the world by storm. Unfortunately though, it has actually been overplayed so much that many people are feeling the collective notion of “enough already!” There are so many versions of it now that people are literally thinking let it go for the Let It Go song! Teaching second grade, you can imagine the scope of the popularity of this song, especially amongst the girls. It was often heard being sung by kids during seatwork, and recess and was also on the list of talent show acts in the talent show we had recently. Thinking creatively, I thought of a way to really use this song to my advantage. At times especially towards the end of the year, students seem to develop what I call the “too much togetherness” syndrome. They are so ready for summer vacation and sometimes the unkind, critical words come out towards each other. Kids like adults struggle sometimes even after an apology has been uttered to release the power of the hurtful words. Students would sometimes feel the need to rehash issues that “have already been dealt with” so we developed a little routine using the Let It Go song. When someone would tattle or keep coming back to something minor already addressed, we would often sing together when appropriate the line “let it go” to him or her! It became a lighthearted way to make everyone smile, break the tension and to encourage them to move forward and not sweat the small stuff. This is often easier said than done in real life though as many adults can attest!
There are many kinds of people in this world. Truth be told we most likely will meet many incredible people on our life journeys. There are people who inspire us and people who we are just naturally drawn to. There are people who when we are with them the time just flies. Yes we will encounter many different and sometimes very interesting personalities along the way, yet some of the hardest to deal with are those who are critical towards us. I am not talking of constructive criticism which may initially hurt, but ultimately helps us in the end. I am speaking rather of those who make unkind, unwanted comments that leave us feeling their sting long after they have been spoken. Through the years I have felt these are the comments that are often locked away in the memory banks, yet I have to wonder why? What is the value of revisiting them over and over when there is so much more positive things to reflect on?
I think the struggle lies in the fact that when hurt is attached to these comments it is very hard to “let it go.” We feel bitter and if we are not careful deep resentment can set in towards the offender. The interesting thing I find is sometimes these people are just sarcastic and probably did not mean to be offensive. Perhaps they were just having a little fun as well but we took it wrong. Who knows? Every case is different. Sometimes they might even actually be shocked that we were hurt. Years ago I was involved in a committee for Drug Awareness Week as I was employed as a substance abuse counselor. We decided to line up musical acts for a little variety show with groups who could have positive repertoires of songs to encourage and validate the choice of sober living and true contentment. Our budget was limited so we hoped to get volunteer performers. For many years I have performed as a professional vocalist as a soloist or group member all around my hometown and surrounding area. Like Wonder Woman I thought I could really save the day here! In my head I was already making a wonderful song list and was very excited to lend a hand to this worthwhile cause in what I deemed a very practical way. Proudly I stated that I would be happy to perform for free and get a nice set of songs ready on this theme as I was an experienced singer. Immediately a very vocal committee member who thankfully (I think?) had never heard me sing said quickly
“ Oh heavens no! It certainly has NOT come down to that!” Humiliated, I got very quiet at the meeting and left feeling extremely hurt. I have often thought of that experience and have tried to use it as an example of someone speaking in haste without thinking. Whether she was familiar with me as a singer or not though, the response was clearly uncalled for, yet it would be to my greater gain to not dwell on it.
Critical words linger. They often feed into our insecurities. We can receive dozens of compliments, yet one critical comment can bring us to our knees. Words are powerful this is true, but we have a choice in what level of power we allow them to have. I admire people who use critical words to motivate them to prove someone wrong. They have been told that they will not amount to much and they use that as a stepping stone for greatness. Maybe you have been criticized all your life. Maybe you are desperate for validation. If you are one of those people I am truly sorry as you have not had anyone properly come alongside you and breathe words of life and hope into you. The Bible says in Romans 15:13 “ I pray that God, the source of hope will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” I so want this for you. It is hard to forgive those that have criticized us. I find prayer really helps. You may wonder what to pray for? Here are some suggestions.
- Pray that God will help you to forgive and move forward. Replaying hurtful comments is very unproductive and it only hurts you in the long run.
- Pray for those who have hurt you. Pray that they will have a realization of what their words are doing and how it is affecting you and probably others.
- Pray for an opportunity to have a honest conversation with the offender if necessary and how to go about doing that.
- Pray that God will help you to not pick up offenses but let things go more often.
-Pray that you will become so secure in who you are as a person and in Christ that as the Bible says “no weapon formed against you shall prosper” including hurtful words.
Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” was truly mistaken. Words do hurt but we can move beyond them. Don’t let them define you or rob your joy. Life is just too precious to not be enjoyed! So my friend if there is a hurt you are holding onto through someone’s cruel and critical words, just learn to let it go. It is a process but it is a much better option than holding on to it, trust me!
P.S. I can’t resist including among the million of renditions of Let It Go out there, one of my favourites by Anthem Lights. Enjoy!
Learning to let it go too,
Ephesians 4: 31- 32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.
Little Lesson Learned: Learning to let go of hurtful words is so liberating! Won’t you give it a try?
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014