Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men’s souls, and a beautiful image it is. –Blaise Pascal
How old were you when you spoke your first word? 6 months? A year? 2 years?
It was a big deal, right? Well, to those around you it was. You, who until that point had been completely helpless, had taken one step towards independence. Though, the word may have been “mama” or “baba” or some garble only your mother could understand it was the first step you took into the world of communication. That’s pretty big, right?
It’s interesting how over the years we forget how important words are. We throw them around as if they mean nothing. Calling people names, spreading lies, unveiling hurtful truths about others to others, as if they mean absolutely nothing. And in the moment, to the one speaking, it may not mean anything. It may be something one says out of pain, hurt, fear, but to the one who is being spoken about words can cut like a knife. People generally don’t forget hurtful words or the feelings that arise when one uses words to hurt them.
Think about it like this. There’s a continuous stream of consciousness flowing through your mind at any given second. And it’s made up entirely of words (and memories, mental images, etc., but you get the point). You’re in control of your thought pattern. You have the power to lift yourself up. Or, of course, you have the power to bring yourself down. Let me reiterate – you do this using words. When bad thoughts creep up you tell yourself, “Don’t go there.” However, when someone uses their words to tear you down, it can totally disrupt your positive thought pattern. And how unfair is that? That another person can have that kind of power over you?
Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another. – Napoleon Hill
At what age do we forget the importance of words?
While home for Thanksgiving, I was sitting on the couch watching football (Go Panthers!) when my 7-year old cousin came and sat down next to me. She was visibly upset about something, so I asked her what was wrong. She proceeded to tell me about a recent time on the playground where the kids were being mean to her and each other. Long story short, the kids went to the teacher and told on her. They told the teacher lies about her. Days later, she was still upset.
At the age of 7, these kids were using words to bully and lie. How sad.
I tried to find the words to comfort her, but alas they were hard to find, because how do you use words to undo the hurtful words said by others. I wanted to explain what I was talking about above… but I figured that may be a bit over her head.
I think, instead of asking when do we forget the importance of words, we should ask, when do we learn how important words are? Is it after we get hurt? Is it after we hurt others? Is it after our hurtful words cause us to lose someone we love?
Instead of living in a world of regret, a world of afters – “I shouldn’t have said ______.” Let’s try living in a world where we think before we speak.
Eating words has never given me indigestion. –Winston Churchill