Sticks And Stones

As a motivational speaker and comedian, I spend a lot of time thinking about my words and how they might affect my audience. I do think about how I use my words and how I can remove any unnecessary barriers between my words and my audience’s experience. And I do think that we should strive to use words that motivate instead of words that tear down.  I am always looking for a better way to say something. And I do think that we fix problems, not people – and that discussions centered around what we believe, are far more productive than discussions centered around who we hate.


All that being said, I will continue to repeat the mantra that we have the ultimate power over how we let the words of others affect us.

More simply said – I can’t be offended unless I choose to be offended.

I can’t be demeaned unless I allow myself to be demeaned.

It’s one thing to have someone tell me that I’m stupid, lazy, uneducated, or that my religion bites. Yes, those words directly hurt my feelings. And I would find them offensive. But I still have the power to believe them or not. I choose whether I will be offended. I choose whether I will believe this as truth or not. I choose how I let it affect me.

But often, it’s not a case of someone looking at me and calling me names. More often when I claim to be offended, it’s because deep down I’m just ticked off at what they said.  I think they are stupid, or I don’t agree with their value system. And it’s amazing how I can get offended over something that wasn’t even said to me, or about me.

So while we head into a time of intense political and even religious debate – let us remember to choose our words with care and caution. Let us think twice and speak once. Let us speak truth, not exaggeration or hatred.

But let us also remember that others can’t offend us, unless we let them.  You don’t just get offended. You choose to be offended.

And the sooner we can let go of what someone else said- the sooner we let go of our anger and find our way back to a happier ever after.



Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
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  1. Right on Kelly!  I love to quote Eleanor Roosevelt who said ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’  Well – we can exchange the word inferior with angry, sad, happy, or even offended.  Way to remind us all that we are in control of our reactions to what others say and do to us or around us.  A good message for now and always – not just during a political year!

  2. Right on, Kelly. The power of choice is powerful!

  3. SO true, Kelly.  It kind of goes back to my belief that “The meaning of the message lies only in what the receiver takes it to mean – regardless of the sender’s intention.”  That’s powerful. That means that WE get to choose what meaning we give to those words.  GREAT post, Kelly!!

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