Words, man’s discovery, are his medium of conversion. They are so powerful and authoritative. They reflect or mirror our thoughts and feelings. We have to think about our words, understand our words, watch and weigh our words. Words are a big contract. Words are containers for power, and we have to resolve what sort of power we want our words to carry. Our words can augment or diminish our level of contentment. They can shape the answers to our prayers and have a positive or negative upshot on our future. One might say that our words are a movie screen that uncovers what we have been thinking and the attitudes we have. “Watch your words or your words might drown you” is the perpetual veracity. The need to gauge one's words or utterances is a significant issue to everyone. Every word that comes out from our mouth comes from a thought - whether consciously or unconsciously.
We have all had the experience of divulging something out and also of thinking we said something that we didn't. If we think happy thoughts, we'll talk happy. If we think unattractive thoughts, our words will be unattractive. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. Our timbre of voice and our body language not only follow with the words we are saying, they follow the brain wave we have behind our words. With a conscious effort to change for the better and with practice the desired etiquette can be achieved. Hence, before we pass a judgment let us think. As Confucius said, “Words are the voice of the heart”
Deal with the tongue
If we desire many stars in our crown we should remember the tongue. The tongue can be a weapon of fury or a negotiator of blessing. It has been said that the “tongue” is one of the most exercised muscles of our body. Tongue is a weapon that can build up as well as destroy. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Our tongue only reveals what is in our heart. Behind the tongue is the heart, from which the good and nefarious pronouncements or assertions come. Therefore, the words we speak are the fruit of our life. Words have the strength for good or evil, and a time-honoured view of reality takes derivation in the mind through words. Words lay the foundation or underpinning on which we build our appeal, worth, character, virtues, values, ethics, morals and attitudes. A good word will build up, strengthen, and encourage us. But a careless word can tear down homes, break hearts, and shatter reputations as they wound, sadden, hurt, mutilate, and destroy. Words converse louder than our actions. One of the deepest needs of life is the need to be appreciated. When we give words of gentleness, positive reception, and appreciation of worth, we communicate love. A slapdash word is thoughtless, lacking in consideration for others, inconsiderate, a rude remark. Let our words lift us. Let us talk about what we can do, not about what we can’t. Let us talk about what we love and not about what we hate. Let us talk about what is great in our life and not about what’s wrong. For one good day can lead to another, and another, so on. Remember, a gentle tongue is a tree of life. It is not right on our part to ruin somebody’s business, by our negative comments. Our words catch up like riotous fire. Negative comments reach out faster than the positive ones. As Gautam Buddha rightly expressed, ”whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill”
Words are more than mere combination of alphabets. Words are more powerful than we think because words are meaningful. We should be careful of what we say. The damage caused by a word uttered can be equalled to that caused by a natural disaster. Words uttered can redefine someone’s personality and self-esteem. We should not speak before we think because once the words come out, they cannot be withdrawn or retracted. They will remain in the other person’s mind and would keep on causing him or her hurt, no matter how much we try to undo the damages done. We should not talk frantically. Kind words, even disagreeable ones will help us to keep friends who value our opinion. "Say what you mean, but don't say it mean." A single wrong word can do such a great damage, which can never be amended by hundred beautiful words. Words spoken in haste can sometimes convey the wrong description of our ideas to the other person. We often kill our relationships with our own hands by speaking wrong words or words that are spoken from our head but not from our heart.
We need to get into the practice of interrogating our words before allowing them out of the confines of our mouth. “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” We should not open our mouth, then examine our words. Communication is very important in any relationship, especially for a healthy one. We hear this repeatedly and every good book promotes this sentiment. We try to communicate but we forget the next important lesson: How to communicate? Most people are usually nice and polite with people they barely know but end up hurting people they care about, because they do not watch what they say around them. Beautiful words spoken in honour of someone can take us closer to that person. But sometimes the scenario changes when wrong words come out from the mouth.
Nice words are a honeycomb, sugared to the soul and therapeutic to the bones. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. When words are numerous, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Imprudent words prick like a sword, but the dialect or speech of the wise brings healing.
A few things to ask ourselves before the words come flying out are enumerated as follows:
Will this hurt someone’s feeling?
Some people seem to forget that people have feelings. No one deserves to have another person tear them down with words. It’s called bullying and it isn’t the least bit attractive. Even small children have feelings and unkind words can shatter them like glass.
Am I speaking out of anger?
Speaking under the influence of anger is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. We have to take deep breaths, calm down, then speak. It’s best for everyone.
Are these words for ME or THEM?
Most of the time, the things we say are self-serving. A father will call his daughter’s boyfriend names to make himself feel good. He isn’t thinking of the young man, his daughter, or the rest of the family. He’s thinking of himself. His words make everyone uneasy, but none of them truly matter. He’s only thinking of himself.
Will any good come from this?
If nothing good or positive will come from our words, why not just keep them to ourselves? As Albert Einstein precisely said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” We should not say anything if we don't have anything good to say. "Don't talk unless you can improve the silence."
To conclude, words can encourage or tear down. They can honour or humiliate. They can tranquil or inflame anger. For that reason we have to learn to weigh our words, guard our tongue and speech. “Fortunes and misfortunes, friends and foes reside in one’s tongue", is not a wasteful avowal. "Mend your speech a little". counsels Shakespeare in King Lear. A Sanskrit poet goes a little further and states: "Prosperity is in the gift of words; tongue makes relatives and friends; by wrong use of words one slips into an inescapable trap; death knocks at his door who is unwise in the use of words." We have to cultivate due reverence in speech. Words once spoken create our present reality. We cannot un-ring a bell. We do not have to like or even agree with everything people like. If we have to disagree, we have to think of the person first and then think of the ways to convey our thoughts. We can let them down easy or tell them gently that we do not share their opinion or enthusiasm. The least amount said is better in a disagreement. Words are the pearls of our life. We should not throw them or lose them for nothing. “A kind word can last forever. An encouraging word can be the foundation upon which many constructive years will be established. Enhancing the self-image of a child with a brief but powerful comment can create a magnificent human being. Words that inspire are like the fuel that enables the rocket to fly high and far.” Speech is free. There is no hook up fee, or monthly charge, or cartridges to replace, or modems to repair. We can take it with us, wherever we go. It can get us almost anything we call for, or want. It has been here, almost since the beginning of time, and will remain with us, even if we lose every material tenure we own. More than our weight, or our hair, or our job, or our clothes, speech is the clearest marker of who we really are. This is truly an astonishing verity of life.
Summon up, we win or lose with the words we opt!
SHIVANAND PANDIT, SENIOR FINANCE MANAGER,
MARPOL PRIVATE LIMITED, MARGAO-GOA-INDIA