The Power of Spoken Words
“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”
Considering the ‘powerful force’ of the words we utter, we must discipline ourselves to speak in a way that conveys respect, gentleness and humility. One of the clearest sign of a moral life is right speech. Perfecting our speech is one of the keystones of mature people. Before speaking take a few moments to contemplate what you will say and how you will say it; while considering the impact they will have on the listener/s. Be kind to all and speak words that are beacons of inspiration, enthusiasm and encouragement to all. Kind and sweet words are always music to the ears of the listeners.
Many people are compelled to give voice to any passing feeling, thought or impression they have. They randomly dump the contents of their mind without regard to the significance of what they are saying. When we talk about trivial matters as in gossiping about others, our attention is wasted on trivialities.
When we speak we should speak with mindfulness, in a way to solidify peace and compassion in our characters. Not only do our words matter, but also the tone which we use has a huge impact. There are certain rules that should guide all our communications with others. Always speak the truth, avoid exaggerations, be consistent in what you are saying, don’t use double standards in addressing people, don’t use your words to manipulate others, and most importantly do not use words to insult or belittle anyone.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a contemporary Buddhist monk and global peace worker and writer in his book, Being Peace states “speaking honestly in any negotiation between individuals or groups is necessary. Speaking the truth in a loving way is also necessary.” Hahn recommends only “loving speech” even when we are communicating about our differences and disagreements. We must be ‘lovingly honest’; we must discipline ourselves to speak in a manner that conveys respect, gentleness, and humility’.
Gary Chapman in his book, Love as a Way of Life uses the vivid metaphor for words as being either ‘bullets or seeds’. If we use our words as bullets with a feeling of superiority and condemnation, we are not going to be able to restore a relationship to love. If we use our words as seeds with a feeling of supportiveness and sincere good will, we can rebuild a relationship in positive and life-affirming ways.
When we need to talk candidly about something difficult with another person, we must focus on the conversation with keen attention and purpose. During the conversation, we must listen patiently, speak tactfully, and tell the truth as we understand it. We must align our words, voice inflection and tone, eye expression, body language, and actions with our inner awareness in an honest exchange.