Words can be my best friend and my worst enemy at times. As a writer, written words are my way of expressing thoughts, feelings, and emotion. I can make sense of senseless situations simply by writing them out on paper. In this way, words tend to be the one way I can calm my brain. On the other hand, though I enjoy public speaking, I have problems with speaking without thinking. Instead of an organizations of thoughts, my spoken words tend to be raw, unedited, thought. It may not always be a bad thing. Certainly, raw thoughts can often be the most creative or inspirational. Yet, it also seems, when I say things without thinking, I get myself into trouble. I end up having to talk myself out of awkward or uncomfortable situations.
I’ve wondered what it would be like if I went a day without words. No spoken words, no text messages, no emails, no Facebook: I would simply sit, and listen. I would observe the world around me. During this time, I would take notes. These would be for my eyes only. I’d write my observations without making judgments. At the end of the day, I would take these notes along with my memories and write about my day. By this time, everything would be throughly processed. It’s such a beautiful idea. It’s certainly not practical at this point in my life, but maybe some summer day, I will take the plunge.
So why do I talk about all of this? Well, I really want to live life more intentionally. I want to learn to be a good listener. I want to be more mild with my words. You see, I’m a very robust person when it comes to my words. I’m loud, quirky, quick whitted, and often very blunt. Though that is definitely a huge part of my personality, a part I don’t want to go without, I do think sometime I may not make a great friend. It’s easy for me to talk about serious things when it comes to myself or things of close interest. It’s a lot harder to talk about or listen to things I know little about. At these times, I either find myself making snarky comments or making jokes at inappropriate times. I use humor to make uncomfortable situations less uncomfortable. For a while, I even joked about going to the “coo-koo hut” before I was okay with being mentally ill.
I also think my thoughts, my real thoughts, are silly or dismissable. Who wants to hear what I have to say? Purely from the stats this blog has, it seems more people than I realize think I may have something to say that is worthwhile. It may be important to note here that I do credit any good thought or talent I have to God. He’s certainly showing me ways to use my gifts to glorify him more and more.
So moving on from here, I don’t know if I will be able to think and listen more, though that is my goal. I just want to be more conscious of my words. Words can impact a person so deeply. Words are strong. Vows, love, and words of hate all draw out emotions that could lead to action. In cognitive therapy, a triangle is used to describe the effects thoughts have on feelings and behavior. In the triangle the three connect to each other, every facet having the potential of effecting another. When it was described to me, an outside event often triggers the thought. Because we are human, many people don’t catch what the event or the thoughts were. They simply focus on the emotion they feel or the behavior they carry out. So what does all this have to do with words? Well, my words, or your words, could be someone’s “event”. Thought processes such as this happen after all events, both good and bad. I just don’t want to be the one that triggers any bad feelings simply because of poor word choice. Uses of the words “retarded” or “gay” as derogatory terms have been hot topics lately. Bullying has been at the center of school related new stories. Xinophobia and hate filled speech towards Muslims or Mexicans have been constantly fuled by politics and media. With such words of hatred going around, I want to be a voice of change. I want to be a voice of love. If I can’t be that voice, then maybe it is best is my voice is not heard.
Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will forever haunt me.