Words matter. So much. Not just what we say, but what we don’t. There are some memories of words that were so endearing and encouraging, and some where they cut deep. There are words that have been thrown casually without considering their impact (I’ve received, and thrown). There are also times when I desperately needed someone to speak up for me, advocate for me, be my voice when I felt silenced.
I remember a time where I was being accused of something, and someone else knew the full truth. She could have spoken up in my defense, saved my character being put into question, but instead chose to stay quiet because she didn’t want to “get in the middle of it”. She allowed my character to be assassinated versus sharing the truth.
I remember words spoken to me peers throughout my childhood that occasionally pop into my mind. Some bring me such joy, and others pain.
I remember a phrase my husband spoke to me, in the heat of an argument. He didn’t mean it how it came out (truly he didn’t, he does not have a way with words), but it stung none the less.
I recall overhearing friends talking about a great trip they had planned, and feeling pangs of rejection because I wasn’t included.
I’m thinking of all the conversations I have had in my own head, that I regret not speaking in real life. The things I’ve needed to say, should have said.
Recently a friend bought her daughter a type writer as a gift, this child has an old soul. I commented to her that we are far more cautious with our words when we have to pay for the paper, typewriter ribbon, and correction fluid. I began to think about social media and the struggle of communicating there.
Twitter allots us just a few characters to make our point, so we become far more direct and to the point. As we began to access our facebook accounts through our smart phones.. we began typing less and using abbreviations because hitting those tiny keys isn’t easy. I can type for days at my regular keyboard, but on the phone? I’m keeping it brief.
Even more so, we can allow the words to just flow out of our mouths without fulling thinking it through. We may be to direct and curt. We may be too long winded and revealing. We may not speak up when we should.
Words matter. If we had to pay a fee for every word we spoke, we may be more judicious with them. We don’t always realize it, but this already exists. Words do come at a price. Perhaps we should consider the cost.