How I Use Hurtful Words As Fuel To Become A Better Person

Embrace the sting that comes from hurtful words, but don't let it limit you.

girl on brick wall CarlosBarquero / shutterstock

By Larissa Martin

Do you know what grinds my gears? And what I shouldn’t let bother me, but it still does? Certain words and phrases, people have a tendency to say things not truly knowing what the outcome of those words will be.

However, it’s important to remember how powerful words truly are, and how these words can affect others differently than you might expect.

And so, this is why I use hurtful words as fuel to become a better person.

I may be in the last year of my twenties, but some of these words people choose to use greatly affect me. I know words hurt everybody and certain words affect someone different than it may others.


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The one phase that I refuse to let myself say and it also bothers me when others say it to me is, “You can’t.”

Here’s the thing: I will always hear it from someone and somewhere at some point in time. These words bother me a great deal, of course, and I tend to let them knowingly as well.

Why? It’s fuel for me.

Due to my situation, saying those words to me will do nothing but help me. Yes, they will hurt at first. They always do, no matter who says it or however many times I’ve heard it.

Initially, there’s always a sting when someone says I can’t do something, but the aftermath is when I change it for the better. I refuse to let it keep me down. I use it to move forward!


For example, when I wrote my first book, I set a goal for how many copies I wanted to sell. A close friend at the time told me I couldn’t do it... But since I made a lot of progress, it was only a matter of time before my goal was met.

My friend may not have meant anything by doubting me, but to someone less confident, she may have discouraged them. Luckily for myself, she just pushed me to want to achieve my goal even more than before.

Whenever someone says something very negative to me, like I can’t do something, I take those negative words — the presumed reason someone spoke them to me in the first place — and then I make an action plan.

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I use what they’ve said, and I’ll find a way to prove them wrong for the better. I want to show them all the things I can do, and to become the best version of myself by overcoming all the obstacles in my path.


There is no doubt there are still some sensitive emotions attached when I hear these powerful words or phrases. However, when someone tells me that I can’t do something, that shows that they don’t believe in me.

I’m human and it’s normal to feel that way. Maybe they may think my limitations are going to get the best of me. But I feel anybody would react this way when someone tried to limit their potential.

I believe everyone can use their negative experiences — such as bullying, deaths, or divorce, and many other negative things — to encourage themselves to grow.

So embrace the sting that comes from hurtful words, but don’t let it limit you. Use it to make yourself better and inspire those around you to embrace the sting, too. Show them that it shouldn’t hurt, but that it will, because we’re human.


Let it teach them more about themselves. It will show them how to improve their lives because they took the pain that shouldn’t hurt.

People can and should learn to be proud of what they’ve learned. They need to understand it’s important to make it a teachable moment for their loved ones.

It’s important to show them that, yes, they might still be hurting from something that shouldn’t hurt. But in the end, they’ll become a better person for it.

Now they will know how to deal with the hurt moving forward, because they will have the tools to deal with things that hurt them. Then they can move on to bigger and better things because they made it through the sting.


That is how they should deal with the sting that hurts but shouldn’t.

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Larissa Martin is a writer whose work has been featured on MSN, Yahoo Lifestyle, Thrive Global, Unwritten, YourTango, and The Mighty.