Thanks to all the wonderful words of encouragement and appreciation that you have been showering on me, I’ve been floating around with my feet six feet off the ground. And just the other day I met my first critic who brought me crashing down to terra firma. So picture this. A room full of people who think my writing is ‘soulful’ and this one person who refuses to join the party. So instead of ignoring this person and being the life of my party, I dwell on the person just outside the door and their hurtful words.
Did your Mama ever say to you – if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I think Mama was right after all. Words wield a great deal of power. The power to build and destroy. You see, ever word has its own vibration which can affect the physiology of a human being either positively or negatively. Positive thinking alone aint gonna get you anywhere. It has to spill over to your words and actions. Pay attention to your words. Do they match your thoughts, your dreams and the seeds of change you want to sow? Or are they polar opposites? For instance, if you keep thinking about wealth but you complain to everyone about the huge bills you have to pay, guess what? You will always be one step away from acquiring wealth. If you want to improve your health, then talk about how great you feel. Or if you are recovering from some illness, use positive words to describe your progress.
M’s sister wanted to become a doctor and she worked very hard for the medical entrance exams. But on the eve of every exam she would develop a high fever and it would affect her performance. Guess what she was saying? She kept saying to everyone – I want medicine (as in I want ‘to do’ medicine or ‘study’ medicine). She was missing some important words there. So the universe gave her just what she asked for – medicine or fever medication to be precise! Every exam she was popping pills. So there you have it. Be very careful when you are asking for something. Don’t skimp on the words or the details. Be as descriptive as possible.
Something similar happened to me. I kept saying I want to go to Florida (when I was still living in Boston). Ideally, summer would have been a good time to visit Florida. But that summer we went to our usual haunt in the Berkshires. We stopped at a gift shop to purchase a magnet, a souvenir. When we got back I put the magnet on the refrigerator and gasped. The magnet had the words Florida, Massachusetts on it. My wish was granted. I had visited Florida. But not the Florida I had in mind. The magnet is still on my fridge and is a constant reminder to choose my words carefully!
For many years I envied people with the gift of the gab. How they could break the ice and have a conversation with a total stranger, was beyond my understanding. I loved their chatty, friendly nature and wished I could be one of them. Now I’m pretty happy with the way I am. Many a time I have witnessed loquacious people tie themselves in knots by saying all the wrong things because they just can’t help it. It’s like they have to announce every thought that passes through their head. There is no pausing, no gauging the impact, no stepping into another person’s shoes. I was that way as a kid and I paid the price. I made up mean nicknames for some relatives, which they remember to this day. I told people exactly what I thought about them. I preferred brutal honesty to kindness and compassion.
Fortunately, life has a way of giving you a taste of your own medicine. It sent me people as obnoxious as myself, people who mirrored my flaws, who helped me see how hurtful my words could be. It’s a hard habit to break but I slowly stopped the free flow of words from my head to my tongue. I put a dam and a Quality Control Inspector somewhere midway. It works ninety percent of the time. But when there is a great deluge of emotion, the words break through the dam, onto the ears of my unsuspecting victim. Still working on my storm water drains!
Although the expression take back your words exists, in reality you can never take back your words or the impact they have on others. So choose them carefully and try to refrain from verbal diarrhea.