“…But the human tongue is a beast that few can master. It strains constantly to break out of its cage, and if it is not tamed, it will run wild and cause you grief.” -Unknown
A thought occurs to you and before you know it, it’s travelled to your tongue and out of your mouth.
And then you try and try and try but whatever you do, you can’t snatch back the words that shouldn’t have been spoken.
The crestfallen face in front of you is evidence of your foolishness. You have hurt, wounded with your words and maybe even spoilt a relationship.
You didn’t think before you spoke.
I have never been good with words. Even though I have a good hold over the English language I have struggled all my life to find the right thing to say at the most crucial times.
People thus often misunderstand my intentions, find me too outspoken, and my words hurtful.
A recent conversation with a would-be client landed me in trouble and I wasn’t able to acquire the project.
I didn’t mind my words, was a bit dismissive, spoke too much — I ended up putting him off.
Words also have the power to build other people up, imprison them in boundaries, and break their morale.
Words have the power and ability to inspire, motivate, and persuade; and on the negative side discourage, dismiss, and dissuade.
Here are some quotes which show us the power of words we choose to use.
“With your words, you wield the power to plant seeds of either success or failure in the mind of another, and in the process you reveal who you are, how you think, and what you believe,” says Darlene Price, author of Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results.
“Whether it’s inspiring a nation, launching a product, building a team, or mending a relationship, the right words spoken at the right time can change history.”
As author Yehuda Berg states, “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity… Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
― J.K. Rowling
“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”
― Diane Setterfield
“Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.”
― Jodi Picoult
“Don’t mix bad words with your bad mood. You’ll have many opportunities to change a mood, but you’ll never get the opportunity to replace the words you spoke.” -Unknown
“If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words, we create our own weaknesses and our own strengths. Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts. We can always replace negative with positive.” -Betty Eadie
So, if you are as impulsive as I am, the THINK acronym will help.
T — TRUE.
Is what you are saying actually true, or is it ‘fake news’? Lies and misinformation hurt others and reflect the liar as someone untrustworthy.
H — HELPFUL.
Are your words helpful? Assisting others to make better decisions through offering good advice is also important.
I — INSPIRING.
Are others inspired by what you are saying? People are greatly inspired by words which have the influence to prompt others to do amazing things.
N — NECESSARY.
Do your words really need to be said? Useless chatter is annoying, while language that actively hurts others is wholly unnecessary.
K — KIND.
Is what you want to say kind? We all know the saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all”. Unkind sentences obviously have the power to hurt people.