“Oh! He was an alcoholic; he called this upon himself”, I snapped on hearing about a neighbor’s accident. It was a regular statement, made based on my information about the person in discussion.
However, it caused me a lot of guilt when I came to know that the person has quit drinking 6-7 months before. He has been trying hard and the accident was a case of bad luck on that day. Though the person was not present when I said it and I had no further connect with the person. But, the thought about those words, lowers my eyes and sinks my heart; even today, after more than 10 years.
The words that we say at a particular moment have a power within them. The power to make or break. At times we feel it impacts only the listener, but; no, they have much deeper bearings on the speaker also. When we choose the words, they intend to bring some message. The words leave impression on the psyche.
“Wow! You have a beautiful handwriting. Everyone just have a look at this notebook and see how beautifully this is written”.
That was surprise for me, I was beaming with pride and confidence. Those words from an English teacher in grade 7 changed a lot for me. Not only was I more confident and sincere in my efforts towards learning, those words became a north star for me. Even today in times of chaos and anxiety, I take to paper and pen. Write few lines neatly, not for the content but for the handwriting. And when I look back at those lines, the words echo in my mind. This is beautiful, it lifts the mood and magically I am back to my energy.
Earlier I used to think that it is the ritual of scribbling on paper that brings the change in energy. It took me some time to make a note that every time there are few beautiful words on paper, the scene appears in background. I always feel so indebted to those words. Even after more that 25 years those words have remained with me.
This is how the words travel with us, within us. Words said by us can be part of someone’s story. Story of shine or whine. Choice of the words, in any situation becomes supremely critical for the message to be clear and also the affect to be constructive. It is even more significant if you are in a position of authority or guide. Words said by seniors in life, like a parent, teacher, mentor leave deep mark on our learning psyche. When life gets tough; and it keeps doing that often, some words for you and about you, by someone; can help you to find your path.
Choosing well meaning words in the moments of fury and chaos is a struggle for most of us. May be that is the reason it is suggested to keep silent in moments of anger. Never say anything in that period. For humans to come out polished, sanity of the senses, especially mind is most important. In the moments of anger, sadness; we are just like other animals. Rough, ruthless and destructive; banging our heads everywhere, hurting self and others. Animals use the brut physical force. The harm caused by such hurt can be healed with time. However, we humans cause deeper harm psychologically with our words.
At times we have to convey tough messages for the betterment of the person. As the message itself is not soothing. The way it is wrapped in words becomes important here.
We can never find a single yardstick that can define the choice towards words as good or bad. The way our words are perceived depends on person, situations also. However, few simple things always remain true. Ask below questions to see if your choice of words often is constructive or not
• Does your words judge the person, system about whom or to whom you are talking? If yes, correction is needed here.
• Are your words closing the scope? This sounds something like, “you did that, you are stupid”. Can be changed to, “you did that, that was stupid choice; hope you see it and make a better choice next time.”
• Are you too blunt? Being clear and transparent is good. However, that need not be always blunt. “These taste awful” can be changed to “this needs to be worked upon a lot to become edible”. Kindness should be the core of your message always.
In the end, there can never be one way and we can never be good at it always. We can strive to be better at it mostly. We must remember that the power to speak is a great power. Using this power judiciously can be healing, kind and beneficial for us and others. For the power to manifest well,one has to be equally responsible.
“When words are both true and kind, they can change the world” – Buddha