Sometimes I forget the power of language, how the very transmission of words onto a page or into another set of ears can cut or mend the very fabric of my life. When bad things have happened to me, I feel like I can trace their development to specific utterances. And by that, I don’t mean that words are necessarily magic incantations, though they certainly can be, when woven intentionally and powerfully by poets and the like. What I mean is that when I’ve said certain things, I’ve changed my own habits of mind, thus altering my behavior. This subtle shift in decision-making, initiated by the concrete translation of thought into words, alters my own awareness, either inhibiting or abetting my actions.
So I’ve re-remembered that I must be careful what I speak. Careful not in a paranoiac sense, but in the sense of a constant vigilance against speaking things against other people that I would not feel comfortable broadcasting to the whole world. This is the sort of talk that I’m usually fairly resistant to, as I’ve always disliked gossip. But perhaps the environment of a public school has lowered my immunity. Whatever the case may be, yours truly feels the need to be more guarded against speaking negative words. Because when one has uttered a negative word, it results in a subtle alteration of mind and body that spreads ripples into the world.
I want to strive to speak things that add value to life, not detract from it. I want to speak words that mends wounds, not creates them. And this does not mean that I would shy from speaking a hard truth when it is necessary–but rather that those hard truths must be delivered directly to the person that needs to hear them.
I’m not speaking against venting. I suppose there will always be a time and place for that. But venting needs to be done strategically, with brothers or sisters in arms. And it needs to be done with the ultimate goal of productive action, the ultimate goal of healing.
But mostly, it seems that the best strategy is to attempt to deflect negativity from others, while keeping personal negativity directed inward. The downward spiral of negativity is avoidable only by speaking the right words, the words that mend, the words that heal, the words that are vetted and chosen to make the world a place worth living in for another moment.
This is certainly not easy. But well worth my life.