Sometimes, we dislike people – to put it mildly.
Sometimes they do things that frustrate us, annoy us, anger us, or enrage us. Sometimes, we just don’t like them, and we can’t even put a finger on a reason why. And sometimes, we curse those we dislike.
I’m not talking about profanity. That core collection of words – the “fuck”s, “shit”s, and “damn”s – are almost meaningless in our current culture. In the words of Lewis Black on the topic, “These are the words adults use to express rage, frustration, anger.” And they serve their purpose, but they are not what I mean when I talk about cursing someone.
What I mean are the words we use, subconsciously, to criticize, insult, or condemn others.
How is that different than profanity? True, some profanity fits this bill, but other words that are not (generally) considered profanity are words I would include as curse words. Why?
Because I noticed a pattern in my life, with insults and the people who use them.
I knew a woman once who called me a coward.
And while her insult carries merit, it did not apply to the situation for the situation in which she used it. I said things that hurt someone she loved, and she called me a coward. So I took stock of who she was, and how she lived her life.
She desired a more adventurous sexual life than what she had with her partner. And while she did speak openly to her partner about this, I know she also had her secrets. She had things which she was afraid they would discover, things which she wanted and tried to hide. She was afraid of their discovery. She was afraid the people she loved would abandon her if they discovered her secrets.
The word she used to curse me was, to her, the worst thing a person could be. It was the word that haunted her, and so she spat it at me as the greatest of insults.
I knew a man once who said I had anger issues.
And he was not wrong. I do have a temper, and I can be quite judgmental. But he and I no longer speak because he once treated someone in such a way I felt the need to question whether or not his actions were abusive. He had quite the temper as well, and I saw his insult’s influence in his life.
I have been called passive aggressive. And they’re right, but I can see the pattern apply to them.
I think of the words I use when people rouse my temper, and I find myself irritated that my theory performs so well.
I have seen news stories in which highly discriminatory people were caught practicing the very actions that they decried, and the pattern fits again.
Our greatest curse, our deepest insult, is what we most despise within ourselves. The ugliest among us curse the beauty they cannot accept. Those who cannot believe they are worthy of love curse affection. The weak curse weakness. The fearful condemn cowardice. The angry rant against rage.
And I do not write this in condemnation. (I feel like I say that often in my posts, as well as what I am about to say next.) I say this to share something I have seen and learned. I say this because there is wisdom in recognizing that the words we use to hurt others expose our own faults. The words we use to praise others express the virtues we wish we had. And by recognizing that, we better understand ourselves.
The first step to resolving an issue is discovering and acknowledging it exists. By seeing these faults, we have a chance to become better people. We just need to work at it. And while the work is difficult, it can be very rewarding as well.
So what are your gravest insults? What do they expose about you? What could you do to address them, and become better people?
What are mine? Well…those are my secret, and sharing them would share a great deal about me. I’ll keep my own confidence, with regards to publishing that online.
So I understand if you choose to do the same. It can be terrifying to stare that closely at yourself and share the things you find. To those who can do either, I applaud you. I think you’re so –
Oops! I almost let something slip. Loose lips, loose lips~ 😉