OPINION: Comments can cause hurtful divisions

Words are powerful tools that should be seen as a gift to the person you are conversing with.
Words are powerful tools that should be seen as a gift to the person you are conversing with. Jupiterimages

WORDS flow around us every day. It is rare that there are moments of absolute silence, since we tend to have a continuous conversation in our heads and engage in conversation with others.

The consideration we give to the power contained in those words - whether to self or others - is usually neglected.

From my observations through myriad conversations past I recognise how many words I have wasted, how many glib, off-hand, uncommitted comments I have made in my engagements with many people.

Yet there are many other conversations, after I recognised the responsibility we have for the words we use, that have been amazing for the insights, inspiration and clarity that were an outcome of my commitment to ensure that I understood others or that others understood me.

"Words are knowledge and knowledge is power" is a quote I remember from when I was young. I thought that meant if I used more and bigger words I would seem smarter.

I was wrong. Words are knowledge but that is only true if we value each and every one of them for the impact they have on those who receive them.

If every word you used was seen as a gift you gave to another person, what would change in the way that you communicated? The path to communicate in that way is provided to those who "think" about their intention in their words.

Are the words you are using true? Are they helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Are they kind?

If not, why say them? You are responsible for your actions and their outcomes. Surely it is better to walk the world with compassion, love and care for yourself and others than walk with anger, frustration and hate.

Sadly, we are seeing too much of the latter and while some may pass it off as the human condition, I see it as a lack of knowledge and desire to be better than we are. Surely our role is to lift others up, not put them down.

Nick Bennett is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned.

Topics:  mental health mind you opinion weekend magazine

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