Saturday, September 18, 2010

Power of words

I've never been one to speak an over-abundance of words. Being a shy person, small talk is extremely painful, so I tend to be silent, which tends to be taken as being a snob, when the exact opposite is usually true. I like people (mostly) and am pretty easy to get along with, it's just hard to talk to people that I don't know. Sometimes it's hard to talk to people I do know.

Words have power. I've been on the receiving end of a many a painful word. That whole sticks and stones and words thing isn't as true as we would like to tell kids. Words can hurt. I tend to err on the side of extreme caution and try not to use words that will harm others. Some I know say it's silly, that they would prefer to just tell things straight out, people be darned. I can't do that. I pick and choose my words carefully (as the delete button on my computer will tell you). It's a safeguard for my feelings, really. If I choose not to say words that might strike others as wrong, I then won't be rejected and hurt by the other person. All of that means that there are a lot of words that run through my head all the time. Most of the time the words stay hidden in my head. Never to see the light of day.

There are moments, though, when I let the words come out. I still edit and try to tread carefully but sometimes the words just come out. It's like there's a balloon in my throat that expands with every word I swallow until it just can't hold anymore and it pops, letting the words that have been trapped inside come flowing out in a gush. When the person on the receiving end of the words is receptive, I am reassured that expressing the words that I keep trapped inside can be a good thing. However when the other person rejects those words, they essentially reject me and the message is sent "words are dangerous, keep silent."

Lately that balloon has popped a number of times. A few times the words have landed on safe places but far too often the words have been rejected thus I am rejected...messed up, I know, that's why I'm writing it out. Some of the words, I'm not sorry for saying, they needed to be said though I'm sad that they were rejected. Some of the words I just wish I could take back and let live in my head again. I remain convinced that words have a deep, deep power to hurt not just the receiver but the one who gives voice to the words.

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