Watching Our Words

Published 15th July 2015

Apparently your tongue only makes up 0.4% of your total body weight, yet it has the power to crush or empower people around you. I don’t think anyone would argue that our words have a strong impact on those we converse with each day, and yet how long do we take to consider what it is that leaves our mouths thousands of times every day?

Back when people used to write letters it would take time to gather your thoughts before putting them down on paper. Even after you had finished writing the letter you had time to ponder the impact of your words as you put the letter into an envelope, stick a stamp on it and deliver it to the nearest postbox.

These days communication happens instantly, in real-time across the globe. Not only that but our computer screens give us a perception of anonymity and security allowing us to spew forth unkind words without even having to think too much about what we are saying. Have you ever asked yourself when writing an email/facebook/twitter message “would I be saying this to this person if they were sitting in front of me”?

I’m naturally a reserved person and like to ponder a response, especially if its a critical response, before sending it to the recipient. However even I find it a struggle at times to watch my words and have been known to spout out offence before I’ve realised what I’ve said. I’m constantly trying to remember to watch my words before conversing with others and I think this is an issue that applies to all of us, even if we don’t like to admit it.

So the next time your replying to someone consider watching your words before sending your response. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my response even required?
  • Is my response justified?
  • Is my response proportional?
  • Is my response kind?

One tactic I like to employ especially when conversing about important topics is to sleep on my response before sending it. Write it down, sleep on it and come back to it the next day. You might be surprised how much of your response you want to change. I’d love to hear what tactics you use to watch your words. Let me know in the comments.