Political correctness has changed the face of America and even the world at large. Words have always been important but today simple wording can cause much difficulty and great struggle if you happen to be on the wrong end of a lawsuit (which I am not). You don’t call people old. They are chronologically gifted (or challenged). A man is not bald, he is comb free. (for the expanded list go to: http://www.bored.com/pcphrases/ and have some fun (or rather – waste some time). Even at an “elder” age people find themselves making a blunder or two. We are not perfect creatures (at least not most of us) and we can get mad just as easily or even faster than younger more agile individuals and sometimes its simply nothing more than something is hurting more today than it did yesterday that causes the initial irritation.
As a side-bar to all of this… I feel the older a person is the more leeway they should be given to say whatever is on their mind. They have earned the right. (IMHO) They have endured more, experienced more, lived longer, have given more to society, have more aches and pains, lived through trials and tribulations that most of us will never see, didn’t have all that young people have today, and have had to put up with the younger generation to this point. That should earn them some respect as well as a bit more understanding.
What I’m alluding to is that I have gotten mad, fed up, frustrated, indignant, or otherwise upset at things from time to time (even not too long ago) that has caused me to get to a point or level of emotional lack of self control that I spouted off in some way that unfortunately the offending individual was able to hear. This doesn’t happen to me very often. I have a better than average ability to control myself where verbal or physical restraint is concerned. I have friends that can confirm this fact. I’ve been burned enough times in my younger days to have learned the art of keeping my mouth shut in precarious situations. My father used to say “his/her mouth was in motion before his/her mind was in gear.”
I’ve told the story before (also learned from dear ole dad) about the fly that landed on a buffet table, bellied up to the plate of bologna and ate to his hearts content till he was so fat that he couldn’t fly off the table. With what he thought was a brilliant idea, he climbed up onto a spoon that had its handle hanging off the edge of the table. He thought to himself: “if I can just get up enough speed I will be able to fly.” So he slid down the handle of the spoon gaining more and more speed as he went. Off the end of the spoon he went and flapped as hard as he could. The next thing that happened was an awful thud as he hit the floor and thus was the end of that fly. The moral of the story: When you are full of bologna, don’t fly off the handle!
Words can hurt. When they hurt, they usually hurt badly. Almost like a jagged knife that is rusty and hasn’t been washed in years. The knife of hasty and harshly spoken words can be sharp enough to make a deep gash in the spirit of the person on the receiving end. Poisonous festering occurs as the words now spoken can not be retrieved and the poison is now deep in the gash infiltrating the spirit of the offended.
It is not always intended. In fact, hasty hurtful words are seldom intended. They are spoken out of frustration. They are spoken out of pain. Sometimes because of physical pain. Sometimes because of emotional or spiritual or mental pain. It can be a combination of or even include every aspect of what was just mentioned. In any event, it is an attempt to let off the built up, stored up steam caused by the boiling of feelings and emotions. That steam can hurt too. So… maybe that is another way of looking at this. Instead of a jagged knife maybe it should be looked at as a burning as if by steam (which I understand to be very hot and hurtful). Done in the “heat of the moment.”
No matter which way you look at it scars are formed. Some burns or cuts are superficial and can easily be ignored and eventually have no effect. Some can be deep and can last a lifetime even to the point that they never truly heal in the deepest recesses. The surface may have healed over and a scar may show but the depth of the hurt may still be open or in pain.
Those that experience this (and I think we all do) find that those things never leave us. They cause us to shield and protect the hurt areas of our lives. We build fences or even walls around ourselves to protect that vulnerability. The deeper the hurt, the higher the wall. Sometimes we even fortify that wall so that any potential hurt is shunned, warded off, and even eliminated if it (an offender) gets too close.
The people that are usually able to hurt you the most are the ones are the ones that you are closest to. This does NOT erase the fact that others can hurt people very easily. Some of it may be because of past hurts or possibly that person’s own insecurities. Still, it is up to us to be aware of what we say and how we say it at ALL times. The fact that someone else may have a “thin skin” so to speak does not give us the right to fling hurtful comments at will.
I am familiar with people that have a taught tendency to “slam” others regularly. They often say that this is “just my way” talking of their own way of having been brought up. They may have a similitude of a thick skin but that does not mean that it really is. Some words along with innuendos can still have a lasting hurtful effect. Sometimes that effect doesn’t always show itself the same way or even early. Often it is much later in life before the preponderance of the weight of all of the critical words take their toll.
The concept of “you are what you think you are” comes into play at an early age. If a child is told he or she is stupid by someone who’s position or status they respect can cause an unending life of trouble for that child. Building and supporting and encouraging words to children are much more effective in creating that life of happiness, contentment, productive, fulfilled and an enriched life. It is never too late to start if this has been a problem of your past.
What you say and how you say it means a lot. You could say “when I look at you time stands still” or you could say “your face can stop a clock.” Both say exactly the same thing but have entirely different meanings. Timing is also important. Many a teen has been distressed and embarrassed by their parent by some seemingly innocent words spoken at the inappropriate time.
Kindness will trump harshness every time. That is not to say that being stern is not necessary. Only that you much choose your words carefully. Even a harsh word spoken with the intent of love will reap rewards.
All of this has been written to say this… I have found it best to say what you mean and mean what you say. Be careful of what you say, how you say what you say, when you say it and who you say it to.