Verbal judo

The power of words.
The effect they have. It makes sense. Afterall, they are one of the few tools we have to make our thoughts, feelings and expressions known. They are a means to establish relationships with others. How many words escape us every day? Do we stop to consider everything we say?
I suppose it's easier to correct a mistaken spoken word with a "I didn't mean to sound like that....(smile....puppy dog eyes)....sorry, " suffix.
But, written words are more concrete. Isn't it true that in the case of legally binding contracts, nowadays, everything is written so that it can't be altered if a situation arises whereby it must be questioned? People no longer rely on verbal contracts. It's not even enough to say "I love you". Couples want the legal security of a marriage contract, a written testament of their fidelity to and love of each other. What is a written contract really but words on paper, but in our society, these words are stone.
Words be they written or verbal, are inescapable.
One mistaken word can mean so much. But why? How do we rely so heavily on the meaning of a word that might have been used loosely, carelessly, regrettably?
Consider the amount of energy we invest in our interpretation of what others say, be it good or bad. A compliment is paid. It could be the making of your day.
"Nice hair-do."
"What? Oh, I just threw it up!"
A criticism is made:
" Look! Your head is small but your body is big."
Indignant. "How dare you! I can't believe it. "
It's true though, everyone's head is smaller than their body. It's a true statment. But why do we take it so personally? Why would such a statement cause us to question ourselves, make us feel insecure?
Do we realise that our insecurities and self-doubts are caused by an ongoing self-criticism. This may take the form of an upsetting internal conversation in which you constantly harangue and persecute yourself in a harsh, unrealistic manner. ("Oh God, I need to lose weight / I need to put on weight/I'm so stupid/I can't do anything right/Why can't I just do it /Why am I so useless?".) Our inner criticism can be triggered by someone else's sharp remark. We dread criticism simply because maybe we never really learned effective techniques for handling it. We can pretend that everything is fine but sometimes all it takes is one little remark and you find yourself spinning a web of self-harrassment.
Any self-doubting episodes we have are set in motion by external criticism.

Why is critisism so hurtful to some people while others remain unperturbed by it?
It seems to be because it's not the other people, or the critical comments they make, that upset you-even to a small extent. No matter how vicious, heartless, or cruel these comments may be, they have no power to disturb you or to even create a little bit of discomfort.
Only one person in this world has the power to put you down-and you are that person, no one else.
This is because when another person criticises you, certain negative thoughts are automatically triggered in your head. Your emotional reaction will be created by these thoughts and not by what the other person says.
To put it succintly, if people criticise you the comments they make will be right or wrong. If the comments are wrong, there is really nothing for you to be upset about.We react when criticised by getting upset because we feel that comments were thoughtless and inaccurate. Such a reaction is unnecessary. Why should you be disturbed if someone else makes the mistake of criticising you in an unjust manner? That's their error, not yours. On the other hand. If the criticism is accurate, there is still no reason for you to feel overwhelmed. You're not expected to be perfect because after all, no one is perfect. And anyway, what is "perfection"?
And what are they only words?

It takes a lot to reach this level of self-contentment, to be able to deal with harsh words in an unemotional manner. Some may question if it's even within them to achieve this? I think it is. I hope it's within me.

(Some of the above is extracted from wise words I received from a friend. I ought have highlighted those quoted statements, but I didn't. I hadn't the time. )