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The Power of Words

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a situation where words caused a good bit of angst. Have you ever found yourself in such a place? My guess is; yes. And it doesn't feel good, does it? How did you resolve the feelings of "ick"?

And while I will not get into the details here; I am still working through some of it. One thing that has helped is the following:

At the beginning of this year I began reading: The Journey Home,: Daily Devotions with Swami Kripalu, by John Mundahl (this not an affiliate link).

Last week one of the passages was titled A Bottle of Perfume, and was so poignant and really got me thinking about we say or write and how it may come across to the recipient.

Swami Kripalu said:

"We want peace, but we aren't willing to be silent. We speak much more than necessary. Our bitter words result in quarrels. When gentle people speak, it is like a bottle of perfume has opened. When arrogant people speak, it is like a foul-smelling sewer has opened. So when you speak, open a bottle of perfume, not a sewer." ~ Swami Kripalu

I think we all know what we say and how we say it can either smell like that sweet bottle of perfume or that foul-smelling sewer, BUT how often do we think about the words we write/type? In reality they can hit harder than the spoken word.

Why you might ask?

Well, you cannot always decern the spirit in which something was written, and then there's good ole punctuation. Punctuation can take a comment made in jest to a completely different level, causing someone to feel attacked, not believed, or a host of other emotions depending on the situation and the words.

Now this post is not meant to be a lesson in grammar or punctuation. Nor do I consider it written in proper APA style and I don't usually intend my blog posts or emails to be. When I share with you here I try to write as if we were together and having a conversation, so I attempt to write like I would speak; sometimes "proper" other times "not so much". I am not writing a formal paper or letter, I consider myself talking to friends. I make grammatical and punctuation errors, sometimes I catch them in proofreading and sometimes no matter how many times I proof read I might miss something. I am human.

And I am sure we have all said something that didn't land quite right. I can put my foot in my mouth quicker than anyone, especially if I think some one knows me and should know how I speak and tend to think.

However, things still land wrong.

Was it what I said or how I said it? Was the other person having a bad day or preoccupied and didn't notice? Maybe a little of both. There are so many factors and what ifs. There is no way to analyze it all or cover all the bases. But I hope that whatever I say or write comes across as a sweet smelling perfume and not a sewer.

If you have ever been to my in-person classes (I hope to offer them again soon), you may remember at the beginning of each month I printed and handed out, in class, the monthly calendar and "actions" from Action for Happiness. Ironically, or not, one of the actions from last week was: "Take a full breath in and out before you reply to others"

Isn't it amazing how things come along at just the right time?

As you go through the days and weeks to come, keep try to keep those words in mind.

Whether speaking or typing. Maybe a little pause will help to avoid some miscommunication.

Another thing that has helped is talking to a friend. A neutral person who can look at all sides of the coin and help with perspective. To help reframe the thought process.

Writing about it has or is helping to let it go too.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope some of these ideas help. If you have been in such a situation and have something that helped you, please share in the comments.

Until the next time,

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