When I was a kid, my brother used to say, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. So I hit him on the head with an encyclopedia.
When I think back on my life, words unspoken can be either good or bad. Holding one’s tongue can be a good thing and it seems to come more natural to me as the world turns.
When words are spoken, they are heard and cannot be taken back. Oh, you’ll hear people say, “I take that back” or, “I didn’t mean that”, but it is always remembered.
In today’s world, much is written on social media, far fewer words are spoken. The problem with this medium is that tone is nearly impossible to discern, so there are so many misunderstandings that wouldn’t have taken place if the parties spoke to one another, instead of communicating by written word.
In years past, the written word was all mankind had. They would write letters to and from, romantic or otherwise. Business transactions were made, many times, courtesy of the mail. It seems slow now, but at the time, no one knew better. There was nothing with which to compare.
It’s called “snail mail” today, even though it really takes very little time in comparison to the way it was then. I think the saddest part of communication in our world today, are Facebook parents. A Facebook parent is one who only communicates on Facebook. I guess that’s easier for some than picking up the phone and calling. I find it very impersonal.
When I was a boy, I wish there had been more words unspoken. My father was an alcoholic and an abuser, physically and mentally. He said horrible things all too often that left permanent scars and caused me to not only have very little self esteem, but to become a workaholic until my body finally could not function anymore.
He didn’t care what he said, or who heard those words. Had he chosen to keep those words unspoken, I wonder how different my life might have been.
I was a disc jockey and a copywriter at the ripe old age of 17. He didn’t approve and forbid anyone in the house to listen to my show. He had nicknames for me, too, such as dingle berries, pee britches, lard, and more. He delighted in humiliating me anytime the opportunity might arise.
In one sense, I’m grateful for the things he said, because it caused me to be kind and supportive of my children, who were never spanked, but were very well behaved, and still are, as are their children. If that’s what it took to be certain that my children didn’t suffer, then it was worth the words that were spoken.
Sometimes words unspoken can have other impacts. They might cause an employee from moving up the success ladder by never speaking up, regarding their accomplishments. In other cases, the unspoken word can cause the demise of romance, altering one’s life forever.
Words may seem trivial to some, but they can have a tremendous impact, either positive or negative and carry long lasting effects on all or some who hear, along with those who have spoken them. Because of my own experiences, I have learned to think of possible outcomes before I speak.
As a professional speaker, I can choose to humiliate patrons by the spoken word, or leave those words unspoken and let the person win. It’s my choice. I have learned that it is much better to leave the negative words unspoken and let the person win.
See you tomorrow.
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