Be Careful Little Mouth
She repeatedly spewed venomous comments and toxic remarks to whoever she was talking to about how terrible this other person was for something that seemed, to me, a minor offense, if any offense at all.
For the 10 minutes that I was in that store, that is all that this lady (loudly) did on her cell phone.
And I found that, though I didn't know her at all, I thought very low of this woman for her behavior and her lack of discretion in airing her personal affairs to an entire store without second thought to what she was saying or who all might overhear her in this very public place.
How we assume that our personal conversations on our cell phones are private and just between us and the other party, while we speak aloud in public about whatever we choose.
And then my mind took a slight detour from that train of thought to the simple thought of words and their power.
And I started writing, but I never posted it because it seems that every day there's a situation where someone--anyone--uses words unwisely and I didn't want anyone to feel that I was talking about them or referring to them.
So I censored myself.
Which I hate doing.
I should be able to be me--completely and 100% me.
But I did it nonetheless because I didn't want hurt feelings or insult arising where none was meant. It was simply an incident that made me revisit a topic that I've learned to feel very differently about. But if I wait for a day where no one’s said anything that they’ll ever regret…well then, when do we discuss our words if there’s never a time when it won’t hit home with someone?
Words are powerful, detrimental, and destructive.
If they're used improperly, that is.
They're also uplifting, guiding, and healing if they're used right.
The thing that they always are--no matter how you use them--is irreversible.
Seven years ago my Daddy said it best in a way that truly shows the power of your words.
He likened words to a bullet.
When you pull the trigger on a gun you're letting a destructive force loose.
The instant that trigger is pulled you can't take it back.
You can't stop that bullet before it finds its target.
You can't change the damage that it causes.
They tear, they destroy, they sometimes kill.
Do you not think words aren't just as destructive?
Sure, no one's ever been talked to death but haven't you ever heard a word or a sentence or a phrase--even a lack of words--that hurt you more than any physical punch could?
What you say you can't take back. You can try. You can apologize. You can cry and beg for forgiveness. And sooner or later, the bullet wound will heal and it will leave a scar. And sooner or later, if you're lucky, your words will be forgotten, but that feeling of pain that they caused--that feeling of insecurity or heartache or disappointment--that one takes longer to vanish. That one takes longer to heal.
Because it's easy to forget words. Words are so quick and fleeting and the second they're said they're gone. Which is why we don't give them as much thought as we should. Words vanish the second they leave the tongue and often-times the only one that remembers them doesn’t include the one that spoke them.
But the feelings they cause don't vanish so quickly. If ever.
Why is it that we, as adults, teach our kids to mind their manners, mind their words, and mind their business but then we, ourselves, turn around and ignore these basic rules of socializing.
We forget the Golden Rules.
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you".
In other words, I have no right to speak to someone in a way that I would not tolerate them speaking to me. And vice versa. I will not tolerate someone speaking to me in a way that I would never dream of speaking to them.
Or for anyone who grew up with a sibling, you rolled your eyes many times at this one, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".
My how quiet we'd be if we remembered that one throughout our adult lives!
If we only lived the words and instructions we feed to our children.
If only we lived that precious little song that we teach our kids but never consider ourselves.
"Be careful little mouth what you say!"
Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.