Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Words have the ability to make or break situations. They have the ability to uplift or conversely tear down. Words have created conflict and started wars. During this current climate of civil discord, words are perpetuating dissension. Just look at how Roseanne Barr’s destructive and demeaning tweet toward Valerie Jarrett caused the reboot of her wildly popular show, Roseanne, to be abruptly cancelled. The racist vitriolic attack resulted in the death of the show and the loss of a vast number of jobs. Unfortunately, the consequences extended far beyond her.
Recognize that words have power. They can sting and cause great psychological harm. That’s why it is essential to take a moment and think before you speak. Consider the following:
- Is what you are about to say kind? Just think, how would you feel if someone said it to you. (Please don’t try to psych yourself out by saying you don’t care. You are human and have feelings. They may not bruise as easily as others but with the right words/weapons, they can be bruised nonetheless.)
- Is it true? Is it factual – not something you heard from someone else or saw on social media. Did you hear/see it for yourself?
- Is it necessary? What’s your motive behind saying whatever you have the burning desire to say? Be real with yourself. If you are saying it just to make yourself feel better, stop and think again. Find another way to release that burning desire.
- Is your tone aligned with the message? If you want your words to be heard, be mindful of delivery. Tone can make or break the message.
Words delivered through the power of the tongue should be spoken to edify and encourage. Once delivered, they can’t be retracted. Apologies can be made, but the damage is already done. The words can’t be unheard. The memory will likely not be erased. Instead of wasting precious energy initiating conflict, make a conscious choice to use words to create harmony. Use your power to empower – to offer solutions. Will you be the change society desperately needs to see?