“You have a witch nose.”

I was a senior in high school when one of my “friends” told me this. This was the first time anyone had ever made a comment about my nose.

In 17 years of living, I never had any reason to be insecure about my nose. However, my self-esteem took a major blow because of this one comment.

Ever since that day, I’ve always been conscious of how my nose looks.

I began looking in the mirror on a daily basis in hopes of finding a way to smile that would keep my nostrils from flaring out.

When that didn’t work, I researched the cost of a nose job. I watched videos on the procedure and looked up the top-rated plastic surgeons in Dallas.

I even found myself wishing that my nose would get broken somehow. That way, if someone had something to say about it,  I would’ve at least had a reason for why it looked strange.

I passed the point of insecurity and was on the verge of total self-hatred.

I hated how pointy my nose looked from the side. I hated how much it flared out when I smiled. I hated that it didn’t look proportional to the rest of my face.

Most of all, I hated that guy for making me feel more flawed than I already did.

Words hurt. In this day, people don’t think before they speak. They may think that their insult was “in good fun” or that you’ll hear it and just move on. Unfortunately that is not the case.

When someone breaks down your confidence, the damage may seem irreparable, but believe me when I say that you can overcome any insecurity. It may be a long process, but the more you fill your mind with positive views on your image, the easier it will get to believe that you are perfect as you are.

It took me four years to begin to feel okay about my nose again. I’ll be honest, I’m still not completely happy, but I no longer wish it would somehow break or look up plastic surgery options.

Instead, I remind myself that the physical “flaws” I see on myself, aren’t flaws at all. I had no control over how my nose would turn out. So if I couldn’t have done anything to change it in the first place, why beat myself up?

It was all because of someone else’s comment. It only took five words and a few seconds to do years worth of damage. We should be building others up with our words, not tearing them down.

Before you make that “joke” or say something just because you can, think about the impact it might have. Think about how you would feel if someone said the same comment to you.

Always, always, always, think before you speak because some words are better left unsaid.