Owning insults

An insult is when somebody uses a term, or a phrase with the intention of treating you with disrespect or scornful abuse. We have all been insulted in one way or another, but I think we should own insults. Here I explain why.

Sticks and stones

We’ve all heard the rhyme: ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’. When I first heard that phrase when I was a kid. I think it had been said to me to help me to develop a thicker skin when kids in the playground were being mean. 

Although I do think that the phrase is a little toxic, as words can cause a lot of harm. Some negative words and insults can be taken, owned and used to help you grow and develop.

Should you really be insulted?

A word might be said to cause hurt, but do you have to hear the word in that way?

To give you a none-bossy example, lots of people use the word ‘fat’ as an insult, but fat activist Honey Ross says it shouldn’t be taken in that way. Ross said: “I think fat is a good word, from the age of 18 I turned my views around and am comfortable in my fat body.”

So the next time somebody insults you, take a minute to work out how you’re going to respond to that ‘insult’.

Why are they doing it?

You have to question why people choose to throw insults around. Being unkind is not pleasant, so why would somebody choose to do it? In my experience, the person dishing out the insults usually does it because they feel bad, or because they want to set you back. 

You can’t win them all

It’s taken me years to accept, but the truth is, not everybody is going to like me. I will rub some people up the wrong way just by existing and sometimes people will misinterpret my actions. But you can’t possibly be universally liked, so why try? Let them insult you, let them hold their opinions. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter.

There is a line

There is, of course, a line when it comes to ‘owning insults’. It’s one thing hearing somebody call you ‘bossy’ and it being water off a duck’s back. But it’s quite another being tormented by somebody. Sometimes words and actions have a deep impact on you and if something is sustained, then it isn’t healthy or right to accept that kind of behaviour.

But I do think that accusations of being ‘bossy’, ‘nagging’, or ‘talking too much’ should absolutely be embraced.