Your Words Can Kill But Did You Know They Can Kill You Too?

by Melody Jean

Words Can Kill Contemporary Seeker“The tongue like a sharp knife kills without drawing blood”  –Buddha

In Theory We Get It

When teaching communications to college students I underscore what I think is one of the most essential communication theories – communication is irreversible.

Once we release words from our lips, they’re off and running. They go out into the universe in search of the nearest set of ears to infiltrate.

The Universal Law

Most mistakenly believe that we can recant something said. This is never, ever a possibility. The laws of the universe won’t allow for it.

Have you ever tried to take back words that you’ve spoken, especially if you hurt someone? What’s the most common response when you say, “I never said that?” It’s, “Yes you did.”

—> We’ve Been Warned

So try as we might, we’ll never get our words back. It’s for this reason that we’ve been warned for eons to choose our words wisely, and methodically. Words spoken without thought or with intended malice can cut, and they can cut deep.

—> They Might Not Forget

Whether intentional or not, they’re powerful. We can try to right it in the eyes of the person we offended, or hurt. However, it’s likely they’ll never forget what was said. Even lessening the blow often times does little to alleviate the damage caused.

So no, we can’t take it back. We can’t undo it. The laws won’t allow for it because it’s irreversible.

It’s Permanent, I Say!

With the advent of new technology this theory holds even more precedence. In fact I think that the theory needs to be updated. It should now read “Not only is it impossible to reverse communication, in many instances, communication is permanent.” Well at least, I think so, anyway.

—> Right Message, Wrong Person

If we write it, email it, text it, blog it, post it, tweet it, our words are out there, for better, or worse, forever. We all know someone, or we are that someone, who accidentally sent a text to the wrong person. I’ve been there. It’s a messy place to be.

—>Gone Are the Days of “He Said, She Said”

Too I’m continually amazed when friends tell me the intimate details of a conversation only to learn that it was all via text. It’s baffling to me. It’s just too easy for our words, in all their glory, to fall into the wrong hands. Further if we part ways with said other, our words are fair game.

It takes only three simple steps to pass it on verbatim: (1) click the message open (2) hit forward (3) press send. With that there’s no more “he said, she said.” It’s there in black in white. Our exact words could potentially go viral among a group of friends or even the world at large instantaneously.

Check Yo-Self

Yes, we know it’s always wise to think before we speak. That is, take time to determine if the words we’ll impart will sting, hurt, or kill another because we’re spiritual entities and want to refrain from paining others. Yet, the realities of the world today also impose the need to take it even one step further, to protect ourselves.

—> Our Words Can Ruin Us

Yes, it seems, that our own words could be our own demise beyond the guilt that we feel if we hurt someone. Our own words can ruin our careers, our families, our relationships, and our future because of their permanency.

—> It’s on Record

With that, it’s beyond smart if we remember to quadruple-check ourselves when dealing with electronic communication. In fact, before I send anything I always ask myself if I care that it will remain on permanent record.

Is there reason for concern that my friend, boyfriend or colleague can read this over and over again for years on end? Because in reality, that’s what we’re doing when we hold conversations, or relay information over technological gateways. Nothing is “off the record” anymore.

—> It Pays to Pause

Sometimes I’ll even whip-up an email or text and then pause. I’ll save it and let it sit so that I can think about its impact.

On numerous occasions by the time I went back to it, I decided not to send it. I didn’t send it because I found that it indeed was not worthy of permanent record. <wink, wink>

In truth, I probably determined that the message would cause more harm than good and that it had the potential to come back and haunt me, or kill me. Sometimes it pays to pause.

Words Linger

To this day I can still recall the words spoken of some close to me that cut deep. So deep, that I swear that I saw blood. I’m human and know I’ve done this to others as well.

While I always tried to forgive, it was the forgetting that was the hardest part. As a result relationships have come to an end over words. It might not have been immediate, but the impact lingered and ultimately destroyed.

With modern society our words now have the potential to stick around forever. Therefore, they can cut very slowly, and continue to reopen wounds for eternity.

A Tangible Example for Our Blinded Souls

Since it’s my nature to think obscurely, I can’t help but to see irony here. I glean a correlation between the advent of new technology and an old adage. The proverb goes something along the lines of “Negative words go out into the universe and when they can’t find a place to land they come back to you stronger.”

You see, we’ve been told for centuries that our words can damage others, sometimes on a level that’s not repairable. Yet we continue to speak in vein. We don’t heed the words of the wise ones. The irony?

Since alluding that we can hurt others doesn’t deter most from continually doing so, it’s as if we’re being given a tangible example. Electronic communication demonstrates how powerful our words can be and in this scenario we’re the recipient of our own wrath.

It shows the extent of the damage that our words can cause by circling it directly back to us. It’s a physical illustration of the elusive law that I opened this post with – communication is irreversible. As I further suggested, in many cases too, it’s permanent.

The bottom line – we need to thinketh before we speak, text, email, blog, or communicate in any way shape or form. For our words can kill others, and they can kill us too.

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