Dipo Adebayo
3 min readNov 20, 2022


How To Stop Painful Words from Crushing You.

I once worked for a boss that could be abusive with words. Once, I made a mistake on a wastewater project, and in apologizing to the client, my boss referred to me as "that stupid engineer"

You've probably there, right? Someone you respect referred to you in a derogatory manner. How do you handle those hurtful and abusive words?

Will you wear it as a badge or keep replaying it in your mind like a song on repeat? Or will you discard it and move on?

If you keep replaying that negative comment in your mind it will weaken you, distort your self image and damage your confidence and self-esteem.

Imagine I had kept replaying this in my mind, "my boss said I'm a stupid engineer, my boss said I'm a stupid engineer (×20)." After some time I may think, "maybe I'm actually a stupid engineer" and then eventually, "maybe I'm actually a stupid person."

At that point, I have allowed that negative comment determine my identity (my definition of who I am.) And when that happens, I have defeated myself.

But I didn't do that. I told myself what my boss said isn't who I am, rather it was a reflection of his nature to sometimes speak abusively. I learned from my mistake and never repeated it, and I kept getting better at my work.

Don't let someone's hurtful description of you become your description of yourself.

Realize that sometimes people say mean and ugly things because their hearts or perception of life is mean and ugly. When their perception of life is darkened or distorted by their negative experiences or background then they will see you through that twisted view, not as you are.

As someone said, “Sometimes, we don’t see people as they are. We see them as we are.”

What hurtful words from your past are you still carrying in your heart? Let it go today. You don't have to allow that hurtful description to define who you are.

You are not who broken people say you are, but who the One that created you says you are.

Break free from the chains of the twisted labels broken people have used to identify you and latch on to God's definition of you in His word; that's your true identity.

For more on discovering your identity, watch these: https://link.medium.com/Z07Jarf7Vub

If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy this too: How Two Careless Words Almost Destroyed a Life: https://link.medium.com/MoI46DFJVub

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Hi. I'm Dipo. I write and train on water, soft skills, teenagers, and overcoming fear, failure, shame, rejection, and other self-limiting obstacles to your progress.

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Dipo Adebayo

I am a water engineer, softskills coach, writer & teen counselor. I write on hope and rising above shame, rejection, fear & failure. Follow on IG @dipoadebayo