"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me." We're supposed to believe that adage and live by it, brushing off any negative comments that may be thrown our way.
We're supposed to be so confident in our own worth that insulting commentary and critique are meaningless.
But that is simply not real life. Truthfully, things people say can really hurt. And the insults can stick with us, lingering for years as we try to feel a sense of self-worth in the face of that thorn in our side from long ago.
And the struggle is even more pronounced when the insult comes from somebody we thought we could trust, say a friend, parent, or relative.
Some Redditors gathered to vent about the meanest comments that they can't seem to shake.
fruitydude asked, "What insult was so mean that it permanently damaged your self-esteem?"
When You Let Your Guard Down
"When I was younger an older 'friend' that I used to look up to back then told me while we're having fun in a group: 'If could see yourself laugh, you would probably never laugh again.'"
"I'm still self conscious about my laugh 10 years later."
Toughest Meal of the Day
"'You're poor ewww.' And 'Why is your lunch so smelly.. DOG EATER.' Yeah, I grew up not super wealthy like other kids being first generation with immigrant parents. It really hurt."
"I hated eating the lunches my mom made while other kids ate lunchables and pre-packaged foods or bought food from the cafeteria."
"Looking back I shouldn't have been ashamed given my mom was making really nice bentos. So I'd forego eating lunch almost every day. I'd eat maybe a small bag of chips since that was cheap to get."
"To this day I don't really eat lunch :(."
"I had an awful step mother, her and my dad locked me in my room aside from school with nothing but a sleeping bag for 2 years. Changed the doorknob on my door so it locked on the outside.
"She would bring me my dinner, set it on the floor and say 'here doggy doggy.' It ruined me in every way."
"'It was probably something unnecessary again' - my best friend who constantly told me this when she didn't really hear what I said."
"Doesn't sound too harsh but it made me stop talking as much and thinking of myself as a boring Person people don't enjoy talking to."
Bad Connotations of a Cute Thing
"My ex and I had a common friend. When we were still dating he told our friend, 'she's like a puppy.' Our friend confided this info to me."
"I thought it was a good thing until he said that he added 'you can do whatever you want and say whatever you want and she'll still be happy to see you.' My forgiving personality was taken for granted."
"When I told my father I wanted to come home to the family property and work on it and he said that was not going to happen. He said that he had 2 useful sons to run the property why would he want a useless daughter to be involved."
"The irony is that my brothers were given the family farm and lost it, I was given nothing and now have my own farm."
An Overshadowing Identity
"'Like, why did you even go to Vegas? You're so boring. I bet you ruined it for your friends.' - My coworker, completely 100% unprompted, weeks after I had returned."
"My other coworkers jumped in basically immediately and called her out, but the damage was done. Years later I still can't help but label myself as the boring friend."
The Last Thing They Needed to Hear
"I have stretch marks because I'm very tall for my age and had a growth spurt during Quarantine."
"'You look like a tiger with these stretch marks, Everybody will think you're ugly.'"
"Thanks mom for making me hate myself even more."
"I was trying to learn guitar and I fell in love with it, I would practice everyday after school."
"I tried showing my dad how i was progressing and he told me 'is that all you can do?' it's been 5 years and I've never touched my guitar since then."
"oh boy. I was around 7 years old, my mum invited her friend round and she brought her daughter along. we were playing and the girl told me about her ballet classes."
"I asked my mum if I could go to ballet class with her and she said they'd take one look at me and tell me sumo wrestling was down the hall and I was in the wrong room."
"this was about 15 years ago and it still hurts to think about. I've brought it up before and she conveniently doesn't remember. thanks mum!"
"'You run weird.'" -- ashish19982001
"Duuuude! I got this one back in grade school and to this day it makes me avoid having to run at all costs. Need me to hurry? Best i can do is fast-walk." -- JosephSmash
An Unwelcome Return
"My 2nd grade teacher the day after I came back to school from being sick 'the class was better without you in it'" -- c00kie912
"In 2nd f***in grade? Damn." -- TheBlueLightbulb
"I've heard that teachers sometimes mentally stoop to the age that they are teaching. It explains so much about some of those grade school teachers I had."
"Not that that's an excuse; that's absolutely a horrible thing to say to any child." -- mmm_unprocessed_fish
"I got made fun of for my teeth when I was young. They were all over the place and I had to have braces TWICE and a permanent retainer to fix them."
"No notable insult comes to mind, but the other kids would laugh if I smiled or laughed because they were making fun of my teeth."
"I'm 31 with a beautiful smile now and I'm still weird about smiling."
"When I was in school I was often called a 'Garden gnome' because I was short and fat I guess. I never forgot that. I remember seeing a picture on someone's Facebook of me in a crowd and someone had wrote 'look in the back! Found the gnome.'"
"It hurt, because I was never even mean to these kids but they hated me enough to do that."
"This one time when I was a kid I was wearing my soccer shoes and running from my house to the car to go to a game. My dad was waiting for me inside the car and he saw me running."
"When I got inside he told me, 'don't run with those shoes on again,' to which I said, 'you're right, I might trip and fall, and hurt myself'..."
"...to which he replied 'I don't give a f*** about you but those shoes were expensive'... it's been about 28 years since that happened and I still remember that moment and how deep my heart hurt like it just happened."
Tough to Flirt After That
"At a party, the host's girlfriend told a room full of her single friends that I was a shy guy, useless to date, and a lost cause."
"Still hurts like a motherf***er today."
"'You are the worst I have EVER had! Worse than the guy who raped me! And if you ever want to keep a girl or marry someone then you should never have sex ever again!'"
"So you know what? I won't. Ever. Because now I f***ing hate the thought of sex or being that vulnerable with someone who could destroy me that easily ever again."
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Shaking hands... what's up with that?
Could this social custom be going out of style given that we're all in the middle of a global pandemic and have become hyperaware of all the germs around us?
And not just that, but just how nasty people are? Why would you want to shake hands with them?
People shared their opinions after Redditor alebenchhe asked the online community,
"What social customs do we need to retire?"
"Making couples feel obligated to have giant, fancy, weddings."
If someone wants that, then more power to them.
But there are indeed people out there who spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to have weddings to please their families... only to divorce later.
"If I take a day..."
"Rest being seen as lazy. If I take a day off of work simply to sleep in and rest at home instead of having to have some sort of big plans or destination it shouldn't be seen as anything less."
"Having to purchase..."
"Having to purchase gifts for extended family that you cannot afford because it is Christmas or another holiday."
Yeah, let's stop that. Not all of us are made of money!
"Though it looks like this custom is fading away during the pandemic...but how about we stop glorifying us "being model employees by showing up to work even while sick?"
I was at a retailer for 14 years, and I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I used to see managers and supervisors dragging themselves to work while sick to please their superiors. In January 2020, I ended up getting the flu from a co-worker that decided it would impress the store manager if she still showed up while sick with the flu.
That culture went away REAL quick when we started getting COVID cases in the store I was at...and I too ended up getting a mild case of COVID. I've called out any time in the past when I felt sick...and I will continue to do so as I normally did."
"I don't create..."
"Worshipping celebrities. I don't get it and it seems to just create tons of problems."
The celebrity worshipping culture, at least in the United States, is insane, and sets people up with rather unrealistic expectations.
"This goes along..."
"That because someone is"family", you should force yourself to spend time with them and be "nice and respectful", no matter what kind of person they are or how they treat you.
This goes along with the enabling acceptance of "that's just how they are" rather than condemning poor behavior choices."
Yes, let's normalize cutting out toxic people from our lives. We'll thank ourselves later.
"Expensive funerals. The funeral industry is insane."
"Discussing salary with co-workers should no longer be taboo."
That's how they get you––it's in your employer's best interest to keep you in the dark, and it's wrong. Many people out there are not aware of their rights in the workplace.
"Giving greeting cards..."
"Giving greeting cards for every single event imaginable. Why pay $5 to give someone a piece of paper that will get thrown out the next day? I'd rather you give me $5 and skip the card."
It's a wild world we live in and social customs can and do change. Life now won't look the same twenty years from now for instance––perhaps for the better? Who knows?
Oh, and sorry, but can we go back to the topic of shaking hands? Let's not do that. Just wanted to be extra clear.
Have some opinions of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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I have a paralyzing fear of death. If I could I would live forever. Have you ever seen the movie "Death Becomes Her?" I would give every penny for that potion. And I wouldn't be all crazy like them.
Live well forever and be happy? It's possible. Even though life is nuts and scary, you're still here. What if there is nothing after the final breath? I don't want to just not exist, while everybody else just gets to keep on dancing.
In my hopes I see a Heaven with ice cream and vodka. So I'm going to hold onto that until eternal life is an option. Let's hear from the gallery...
Redditor u/St3fan34 wanted to discuss life after life, by asking:
What do you think really happens after death?
I feel like if there is nothing after life, it just invalidates life. But maybe I'm just dramatic. I hope there is peace. Thoughts?
Leftoversblack and white two funerals GIFGiphy
"Your family fights for your belongings."
"When we die, the whole world as seen by us, dies together with us."
"Yes it does. As does the entire universe. Only when we are alive can we experience the passage of time. The instant we die the entire universe will experience heat death and cease to be. It my take a million eons but since we can no longer experience time it will be relatively instantaneous."
"It's one of the great wonders of life: What will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up? And if you think long enough about that, something will happen to you. You will find out, among other things, that it will pose the next question to you: What was it like to wake up after never having gone to sleep? That was when you were born. You see, you can't have an experience of nothing. Nature abhors a vacuum. ~Alan Watts"
"When I was much younger, I had a dream where I died. Not a typical dream, not a romanticized dream. It was a dream where I was an archer in a medieval battle. About 5 minutes into the battle, chaos was all around me, and I watched an opposing archer aim and loose an arrow straight into my left eye."
"I remember the sensation of impact, ringing in my ears, and falling to the ground. I remember the warmth of the blood on my face. The feeling of life leaving my body, and the sense of worry evaporating into warmth and peace as the world left behind me."
"I remember waking up shortly after thinking that the feeling and reality of that experience was so vivid and so detailed that it must have been an experience from a previous incarnation hundreds of years ago. From that moment on, I've never feared the actual process of death. I feel like I've experienced it many times before."
EraseComputer Reaction GIFGiphy
"I think one of your best friends delete's your browsing history."
If you love me... rule number one... HIDE THE EVIDENCE!!! Let that be heard far and wide. And dreams, always so intertwined aren't they?
Before & AfterHappy Baby GIFGiphy
"Exactly the same as before you were born."
"We clean the bed and assign it to another patient."
"The REAL reason why nurses are so dark. 90 year old man in hospice got hit by a car on his way to get fitted for his funeral tuxedo, and didn't have a DNR. Kept him alive for four hours, and now it's time to document everything that was done to save his life because there will inevitably be a lawsuit from a family member who has had four years to say goodbye but somehow didn't get to."
I don't know what they mean or how to utilize them. I'm a Buddhist (but a gamer first and foremost) so it's cool you guys made those connections This totally makes up for r/movies continuously banning me."
"I've answered this one before but here it is again. Either two things happen after you die: you either go somewhere or it's oblivion. If it is oblivion, then we're just going back to the same place before we were born and there's nothing wrong with that. We were there for billions or trillions of years, possibly infinity."
"You lose that concept of time since your brain doesn't work anymore so you don't even know it's over. It's not nothing because nothing would be something and that means that you are aware, which you can not be if you're dead. If we do go somewhere, then that's something no one understands because no one has ever come back to tell us."
"Those stories of people coming back after they "died" and "saw stuff" weren't really dead. Their hearts stopped but their brains were still working. If the Universe continues to recycle itself infinitely, then there's a chance we will be reborn or continuously reborn but have no memory of our previous selves."
"When I was a kid I drowned while on holiday with my family, a giant fat man jumped in the pool on top of me and no one noticed till I was on the bottom of the pool. I remember the feeling of my lungs being on fire, then shivering then as everything was going dark a strange sense of peace and I was ok with it, No panic or terror then it went black."
"I was resuscitated at the side of the pool a few minutes later. I remember nothing from the black to being "alive" again. I was around 7 when it happened and since then I've been strangely at peace with the fact that one day I will die and slip into the dark void of nothingness. Hope that helps."
Popcorn?500 days of summer cinema GIFGiphy
"You wake up in a chair in a cinema and learn that the other are past lives of you and you're about to watch your next life very soon on the big screen."
The truth is none of us know the truth. We live everyday with the afterlife being a gamble. And that seems like it's going to have to be enough.
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The pressure to fit in when you're a young person is no joke. It seems like, daily, your emotional and physical safety hinges on you passing as "cool"--whatever that means. "Cool" can mean different things for different people. But when it comes to the things the "popular" kids think is cool--it might actually be destructive or dangerous.
But thankfully, just like trends, what is "cool" and what is not is also liable to change with time. And as generations move on and on, the landscape of what is "cool" changes. Some of the awful things that were cool when we were younger are no longer cool.
And that's probably for the best.
"What are you glad isn't 'cool' anymore?"
Here were some of those answers.
A Hole In The Ozone Above My Head
"Perms and aerosol hair spray. In the 80s you rarely had one without the other."
"I had permed hair from the age of 5 until college. And the wall in my bathroom that was opposite the mirror had a thick layer of hair spray permanently covering it."-ShallowLily
Mustache You A Question
"There was also that sub-trend of drawing a mustache on your finger and put it underneath your nose to do some sort of quirky selfie."
"I remember some people actually tatooed it on their fingers and I'm wondering how it's going for them now."-Skeledenn
Mid Aughts Eat Your Heart Out
"Layering shirts over a ton of cami tank tops."
"At least, I hope this trend is dead, because I had to do it since every shirt was tissue-paper thin."
"Can we please go back to shirts being opaque please? I'm tired of having to wear 3 layers just so I don't look like I wore only my bra to work."-Empty-Masterpiece242
Can't you find yourself sighing from relief that some of these things are no longer "in"?
It Was Also The 90s
"The early 2000's make up trends consisting of Orange foundation, extremely pale pink lipstick and ruler-drawn extra thin eyebrows."
"Please God never bring this sh*t again..."-Sohiacci
A Language, Not A Picture
"You get people with tattoos like '無料' because they went to the tattoo artist and said 'I want a tattoo that says I'm free!'"
"And they got a tattoo that says 'I'm free'... meaning 'I don't cost anything.'"-ppardee
"Don't forget when Ariana XL got a tattoo of 七輪, which is made up of characters that mean seven and ring, but as a word refers to a small charcoal grill."-Sharpevil
The Axe Years
"Men drowning themselves in axe body spray. I remember jr. high and the hallways would reek and almost everyone re-upped at their lockers between classes."
"Axe might as well make an Arctic-marijuana scent because I think people only use it now to cover up smoke smell but it doesn't really work."-Trolling_turd
It's All Bacon
"The bacon everything craze from about 10 years ago. Bacon flavored or scented everything, and so many memes about how bacon was like the greatest thing in human history. Like, it's okay."-NYArtFan1
"The meal itself could be subpar but because they've added bacon to it they feel it's gourmet or something. The burger sucks but it's $20 because we've added bacon."-Duffmanlager
And now, looking back, you're probably wondering why these things had such a long shelf life in the first place.
Just Like Axe
"Love Spell from Victoria secret. Like seriously I hate it now. Growing up the girls that went to school with me would bathe themselves in it. Especially during things like prom, winter formals, and any other events the school had."
"I got made fun of because I would wear other smells like cucumber melon and sweet pea. Yes I realize sweet pea smells like old lady. However, anything else was better than smelling a sea of f**king love spell."
"It also got me brownie points with the teachers. The older ones liked the smell and the younger ones shared my opinion on it. One day after gym, I was changing clothes, had just put deodorant on, and was about to spray a little cucumber melon on."
"One of the girls that regularly picked on me decided that today was the day. She caught me off guard and sprayed love spell directly into my face while screaming 'There. Now you won't smell like old lady a**' and laughing. All the other girls was laughing too until they realized I was coughing and was having trouble breathing."
"She had literally sprayed it down my mouth and nose. One of the girls panicked and went and got the teacher. The teacher took me to the office and called my parents. By the time my parents got to the school I was fine but, they decided to send me home anyways."
"The next day letters was sent home to other parents letting them know that love spell was banned from school because it was triggering kids with asthma. I don't have asthma but, I guess the teachers seen the incident as the perfect time to finally get rid of the smell once and for all."
"To this day, if I smell a hint of love spell I instantly start gagging. So glade it's gone.😉😉"-RiseandRiseagain1814
It's Cool To Care Now
"Apathy. It used to be really cool to not be invested in anything, but it seems like social media has made having hobbies and passions easier to with other likeminded people."-The_Most_Superb
"Fortunately I chose a co-op internship program which helped set up my career, but I regret not joining many clubs/activities because doing things was considered uncool."
"I think 21 jump street laid it out perfectly. The older kids were so confused about the newer high school kids actually giving a sh*t. Too accurate!"-swerve408
The Landscape Of Who's In Control
"Honestly, I'll take all of these back if I never have to see another 'influencer' again. Sure, back in the day you had your Paris Hiltons and your Kim Kardashians but they were easily ignored and only took up a niche portion of culture."
"Now, influencers have basically dominated every aspect of pop culture. Videos game culture is so dominated by streaming and YouTubers that meeting someone who 'likes video games' means something completely different from, say, 2007 or so."-TheRedCap
Looking back, maybe we weren't as cool as we thought we were. Then again, why were we so concerned about our hair, our silly bands, or any of these other things that faded with time, as everything must?
The coolest thing we can do in the present is just be ourselves.
Nobody wants to die alone. That is one of life's more basic truths. We all hope there is going to be a familiar hand to hold and a pair of eyes that witnessed our lives looking into us as we drift off to meet our maker. That feels like the basics of marriage. Well that and a permanent booty call.
That's why a lot of people turn to a trusted friend to maybe one day be a love interest. It's always good to have a fail-safe and a back up. And the older you get the more the chase becomes too much run through, so why not make it easy? It's like... "hey so and so... you wanna get hitched by this date, in case?"
BAM! Instant I Do.
Redditor u/shansnewone wanted the betrothed out there to tell us about their relationship successes and fails, by asking:
Couples who got married on the basis: "if we're both not married by (x) years old, we'll marry each other" how did things work out?
I am out of options. Unless all of my prior fail safes current relationships don't pan out, I'm going to the grave alone. I'm too tired to look, or too lazy. Potato/potatoe... let's see who has better luck.
Decades Laterjust married love GIFGiphy
"Yep, worked out pretty well. We've known each other for close to 30 years now and jokingly said something similar years ago. Anyway, we got married almost 6 years ago and pretty happy with the situation."
"We were best friends for a long time in high school, I was really into her but the feeling wasn't mutual. I told her if we were single 5 years from now I could see us getting together and getting married. I moved across the country and we mostly lost touch for a couple years, but then almost exactly five years after I'd said that, we reconnected and I told here I was miserable where I was."
"She had just moved to a new city, I moved in with her, and we got together pretty quick. In two weeks, that'll have been six years ago. We just bought a house and our daughter's first birthday is next month. It was rocky at first, since we were both escaping miserable situations and living in a studio apartment, but everything worked out and I live with my best friend."
She said yes...
"Funny enough, there was a girl I liked in High School, but I was 17 and she was 15. She asked me out but I said no because I just got a girlfriend, but I was interested in her and I told her. She said if I'm single by the time I'm 25, can we get married? I was like yeah sure. I asked her when she was 25 if she was single. She said yes. Reminded her about our agreement and she said "I'm only really dating girls right now." So yeah."
Jumped the gun a little...
"I made this arrangement with my best friend from college. We spent so much time together, people thought we were dating and it led to some strife in many of my possible relationships because they saw her as a threat. But that wasn't the nature of our relationship. Strictly friends, I had interest in her one time but was quickly friendzoned and didn't try to make any advances. She never held interest in me."
"One night, close to the end of college, we went out and grabbed some beer at a local place and were transparent that we could see ourselves getting married to one another. We made an agreement that if, by the age of 30 pr 35 (I can't remember now), we were both single, we would get married. After college, we went our separate ways—I continued with school, she got a job."
"We talked inconsistently (maybe once every few months?) for about 2 years. I happened to be in her city one day in 2020 and we grabbed coffee. We talked a little more after that, then things REALLY picked up here in the last few months. We're engaged, getting married in March. Jumped the gun a little, but dammit this is the best decision and relationship I've ever been in."
In the End...This Is Absolutely Ridiculous Mandy Moore GIF by This Is UsGiphy
"Couple I knew both thought very highly of themselves and thought they could do better than the other person. They're now together and miserable."
Well those sound pleasant enough. Well, most of them do. But hey, when you gotta go with what's in front of you, you can't beg. Maybe others had it better.
Cheers to Us...Season 17 Cheers GIF by The BacheloretteGiphy
"Had an agreement. Both were married far before the date. Did however go out for drinks to celebrate the fact that we were both happily married!"
"I know a couple who were best friends but dating other people for about 15 years. No one was surprised when they finally started dating and got married, but they didn't have an agreement like you mention. They just finally got over the idea that love had to start with romance rather than friendship."
What happens... happens...
"My best friend dated this chick through high school. They broke up to go to separate colleges, dated other people obviously. Got back in town after graduating, got back together, got married. That was like 19 years and 3 kids ago. He was telling me they never would've lasted a year if they didn't separate for the 4 years of college."
This is a date?!
"My husband and I were friends. I said ,"if you don't have a date on Valentine's Day, why don't you come over and we can drink/ hang out." ( it was senior year of college… this was everyone's past time on non football days or club nights) Valentines came, and we both had nothing to do. He came over with beer AND yellow/red flowers."
"He offered to take me to dinner. I turned around and looked at my roommate like," huh?! Ooohhhhh... This is a date?!" I accepted the flowers and the 6 pack, got changed and 3 days later I just knew he was the one I wanted to annoy for a lifetime. We were swimming in the Jupiter inlet and I said "I think we should get married" he said "Yep. Sounds like a plan."
"That's all it took… friends + valentines + trajectory change = 2 kids, 2 careers, 6 moves, 1 serous illness. We survived together as a team, and It will be 25 years together in February. Man, I got it right and I couldn't even think of anyone better a fit for me. It's been AWESOME!!!"
Let's Party...Marriage Love GIFGiphy
"In my case i had good friend studying together abroad who had boyfriend."
"I told her to call me when she's free. Two years later she came to work to my city she was already free. She called me and we went to a party where after an hour or two we decided to be together and we are for 10 years."
I'm comforted by a lot of this. Maybe I'll meet some new back ups. And then love will overcome. Anybody free for a chat? ;)