Everyone is guilty of blurting out something they immediately wished they could take back. But it’s out there, hanging over their head like a cartoon speech balloon that they can read over and over again. The words haunt them, and while they hover in the air the letters, as if in slow motion, dissect and become daggers that hurtle themselves towards the intended victim. Whether it was their objective to be hurtful or not, that person undoubtedly didn’t take the time to think about how what they said would really affect the other person.
There is generally a five second window – a brief moment that you can write a rough essay before composing your final draft. It gives you that precious time to edit what is said before it escapes your lips. It’s called a filter. Some people have developed the ability to contain a response until it is processed through the many neurons that it should permeate. Others recklessly open that gaping threshold and spew the vile and heinous words that cut through their victim like a round of automatic gun fire. The blast is quick and leaves many wounds, open and weeping, as the victim tries to rally and repair the damage.
You can’t take back stupid. And you can’t take back detrimental. You can’t reel in the words that have been so carelessly cast into the churning river of a person’s sea of reality. Once those sounds have escaped your lips the weight of their purpose hangs heavily on the one receiving the message and the damage has been done.
There may be an endless stream of apologies and begging for forgiveness from the assassin of the English language but memory is a funny thing. Although forgiveness may eventually be awarded, forgetting is not always an option. And those deep, gaping wounds are carried with them for what could feel like an eternity. That moment is replayed in their mind more than a thousand times.
You have the power to circumvent that atrocity from occurring. Take the time to think about what it is that you really want to convey. You can be critical, but don’t be mean. And if your comment serves no apparent purpose, than keep it to yourself. Don’t inflict unnecessary suffering because you can’t find the right words. Take your time and choose those words wisely. During future battle you may be the one staring down the barrel of that automatic weapon of idioms the next time it is fired.