Words can be weapons

12 Comments

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.

Think Twice Before You Post

18 Comments

Social media has taken over the way we communicate with each other.  When I was a child (and yes, this will make me seem old) we didn’t have cell phones to text every waking idea.  Instead, we wrote letters – in long hand!!  For those of you studying history it was called “cursive”.  We had pen pals from around the world and when we wished to communicate with them we drafted well thought out letters, put a stamp on an envelope and sent it out across the void.  It may have taken weeks, even months, to reach its destination but we also didn’t have to worry about how many other people would read, and potentially misinterpret, the message we conveyed.

stanford-tuck envelope 3

(image credit: forum.keypublishing.com)

The ease of communication now is also dominating the amount of information that we share with others on the social media sites but there are many out there who don’t take the time to think of what they are posting before it’s out there….for ALL to see.  We have such a need to interact with people but we don’t take the time to second guess the content of what we are sharing and who we are conceivably sharing it with.

Facebook and Twitter make publicizing our lives far too easy.  With one click of a button, your latest thought, action or location can be sent into cyberspace and be laid at the feet of the millions of people with access to the “information highway”.  What we don’t think about ahead of time is the fact that once that data has been shared it cannot be un-shared.  You may think that by pressing delete on your keyboard that the material is no longer available, but think again.  It has been data stamped and encrypted and is still recoverable.

There are many minds out there that are far more creative and light years beyond us in terms of technology that have unlimited access to those morsels of personal details that you felt the need to share.  And they, in turn, may feel the need to resurrect that fragment of your life and make you vulnerable in a way you never thought possible.  Innocent pictures of your “girls night out” may find themselves on websites with completely ulterior motives.  Your potential new employer may, and most likely will, seek you out on Facebook to see if the information you have used to beef up your resume has any semblance of truth.  They will also judge your character on the photos you have chosen to share with the world.

Choose your words and your images wisely.  I am trying not to be hypocritical in this post as I am a humble slave to social media.  This blog would not exist were it not for the ease of sharing thoughts and ideas across the vast blogosphere and sharing my posts through Facebook and Twitter.  But I do give pause to the content of my words and status updates before I hit the publish button.  Although I am free to write about any topic I choose, I also want my words to portray my character in a way that I feel truly represents the person I am and will leave no room for any of those words to come back and haunt me.

Don’t always trust the privacy settings to give you that sense of security.  The only real security you can have is filtering the information you post in the first place.  The postman only used to ring twice.  Words that have been sent into cyberspace will ring forever.

Take a walk in my shoes

24 Comments

Judge me not by what you see of my first appearance.  Do not drink in the sight of me without first appreciating the ingredients that were combined to create the final product.  Although by outward appearance you think you may know me, know what I’m made of, but the recipe for this product is the result of a myriad of ingredients.

Before you judge me, put on my shoes and walk through my past.  See what it is that has shaped me and made me the person I am today.  Wear those shoes and glimpse into the experiences that have carved out the life I have led.  Hold fast in those shoes while the toes point precariously over dark chasms and walk freely in them as they guide you out of harms way.

old-running-shoes

Skip happily through my successes, but always be prepared at a moment’s notice to plant those shoes firmly in defiance of those who wished to take advantage.  There is knowledge and power in those shoes.  They hold the key to my existence.  They have led me to triumph and helped me run from despair.

So before you make up your mind about me, take a walk in my shoes.  Watch my journey unfold, and only after you have glimpsed the many facets of reality that have made up my life, only then may you cast your judgement.

A closed mouth gathers no foot

27 Comments

Blessed are those with the gift of discretion – those select members of society who have the foresight to think before they utter their thoughts aloud.  They carefully create the vision of syllables tumbling from their mouths in perfect synchronicity and follow through with eloquence and grace on their delivery.  Their words are distinct and, most often, fraught with meaning.  Their sentences have symmetry and structure and have been scrutinized at great length before being uttered.  They leave no opportunity to say the wrong thing.  In short – they think before they speak.

Because nature dictates balance in all things, there are also those who throw caution to the wind.  They randomly spew the first words that enter their brain without giving them the benefit of being filtered through the proper sieve of political or even conventional correctness.  The words are out there, hanging in the air like the particles of moisture in a dense fog.  They become thick and difficult to navigate without inevitably crashing into an invisible concrete barrier.  When the burning heat of embarrassment burns away the remnants of that fog, the orator stands alone with one foot firmly implanted in their mouth.

foot-in-mouth

Having the wisdom to compose a thought before it is cast out to the point of no return is the key to not having the bitter aftertaste of ten-year old running shoes saturating your taste buds.  Formulating a response with deliberation ensures that you are clear in what you want to say without being hurtful, cynical or idiotic.  Knowing when to step back and think before you speak gives you an opportunity to sound thoughtful and articulate, without the aftermath of explanations and backtracking.

Unless you have a foot fetish, keep in mind that words are more appreciated when sentences are given a moment to take their proper form.  Knowing what you want to say is decided in a second.  Being able to control the outpouring of emotion and present those ideas properly is worth the extra ten seconds to avoid the taste of Nike mouthwash.