“Get it right, there’s no blood thicker than ink... hear what I say, nothing’s as simple as you think.”
~U2, Dirty Day.
Not to make a soul feel guiltier than they already might do, our words really do tend to stick. “Sticks ‘n’ Stones” was a quick retort back when I grew up, one that reckoned of no hurt in the words heard. It’s unfortunate that it’s a lie.
Whether we convey our words verbally, in the written sense (email being potentially horrendous) or through any other medium matters little. We best ensure that we apply our ‘speech’ behaviour with kit gloves.
But oftentimes we cannot help hurting people; it’s only through the agency of hindsight that we even know. Somehow we just didn’t think. It happens.
Still, words are great. We marvel at how words at the other end of the spectrum can inspire us.
The Motive for Self-Control Over Our Words
However we ‘speak’ we are most blessed to have circumspect speech. Even if we tend to be hurt occasionally by others’ words, we’re most keenly interested in having control over the words we utter.
At root there has to be a compassion for others that reaches the heart.
If we want anything to occur automatically, i.e. for the mind to ‘parrot’ good things, we work on the heart, for the heart is—using IT-speak—the ‘operating system’ for the mind. Whatever comes from the mouth has come usually from the mind, and deeper still from the heart.
Motive for pleasant speech is number one.
Focussing on Signs of Success
Second to motive is our own esteem for the capacity to enjoy the blessings of the better parts of communication—the preparedness to never offend.
This is a commitment as much as anything, but the best way to drown a bad thing is to flood it with good. As we recognise our own good deeds we bay in that light.
Not that we’re ignoring signs to the contrary, but we do give the positive signs top billing. We feed our vision to be a lover of all people, if nothing else but by tolerance.
If there’s one quality coarse speech lacks it is tolerance.
We’re also not put off by coarse words—written or verbalised—when in receipt of them. How stunningly easy it is to move on beyond them by ignoring it.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.