Defeated by words

It is a harrowing moment when you realize that in life you don’t get a chance for revision. Once you speak out your words, you can’t press backspace or delete. Even a sorry cannot erase the effect of your words, no matter how much you explain and try to justify yourself. I was angry, I was so mad, I wasn’t thinking, I have no control over my emotions you know that! You know I didn’t mean it.

Yes, they know and they probably understand, even forgive but they never forget and therein lies the problem. You are forever defeated by your words, for they refuse to die and fade into oblivion. Like a foul stench, they linger and stain your memory, bringing forth past history that makes it far more substantial than what it was set out to be. An ingrown nail that festers and causes relentless pain, but unlike an ingrown nail, it cannot be surgically removed from the memory of the heart.

You can, however, try to numb the pain with supplemental words of love, apologies, and even genuine regret but don’t you for a moment think it is forgotten. I have seen enough of life to know that every word you speak out comes back to you like a boomerang. Every I hate you that I muttered to my mum in adolescent anger has been said to me through bitter tears when my children had their toys taken away or some favorite cartoon turned off as punishment.

The power of words has always been stressed upon, I can and I will are the magic words that usher in success. I can’t and I am not good enough, the mantra of failures. Prayers have been known to even heal terminal illness while curses have ripped families apart. Religions have stressed the need to be wary of one’s words, some even promoting silence as damage control.

I often tell my middle child who is known to blurt out the first thought that enters her head, ‘if it isn’t kind don’t speak it.’ That simple rule can prevent so much pain and heartache. For our bitter words stand like a wall between happiness and us, kind words are a bridge that brings goodwill our way. Criticisms are bitter arsenals that can tear down a person’s moral and praise can help build up someone’s confidence.

Words are powerful, that is why motivational speakers are capable of transformation while activists of hate can lead a country down a warpath. As I watch disturbing news of the violence and hate that has filled this world, I know that we as a society have been defeated by our words of hate and division.

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