Nearly everyone over the age of 2 has heard that old nursery rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” While it is meant to encourage kids to ignore what people say, it is also a very untrue statement. The sad fact is that words can and do hurt. They are actually the most powerful weapon in our arsenal.
All too often people spew out venom in moments of anger, only to regret it later. The problem with allowing this level of anger to dictate your relationships with people, is that it often demolishes the very foundation of the relationship. Words cannot be erased or forgotten, which is what makes them so dangerous. Physical wounds are forgotten once the physical pain diminishes; but emotional wounds leave scars that never heal.
In many cases, the person delivering the verbal assault may not even mean what they are saying; and are in fact saying it for the sole purpose of causing pain. However, there are also those moments where the words actually do express what the person truly thinks, they just never meant to speak them. In either case, once the words are out there, the damage is done.
Words are very powerful, and can easily destroy even the most solid foundation when used as a weapon. There are constructive ways to express yourself, but venomous words serve one purpose only: to cause pain.
I grew up in a world where the rule of the house was typical, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But my father took the lesson a step further and explained why it is so important to be nice. Moments of anger pass, so it is always better to cool off in silence than cause destruction in anger. When calm, the purpose behind the anger can be discussed, if it truly is worth discussing. Sometimes we get angry at little things, and only after cooling off do we realize that it wasn’t that big of a deal after all. Or perhaps, our true anger was for an entirely different reason. Giving yourself time to cool off serves another purpose as well; people listen to you when you are speaking calmly, yet tune you out when you are shouting in anger.
If after taking a moment to calm ourselves, we are still upset by the issue, then we can now discuss it in a calm manner. This is how issues are resolved, without leaving collateral damage in our wake. All too often, people become broken and relationships destroyed, because of words filled with venom that are used as a weapon in a moment of anger. Long after the assault, the words linger, wreaking havoc on the person you wanted to hurt.
Words are the most powerful, and destructive force on the planet. Use them wisely.