“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
Have you ever considered just how much words can and do affect a person? Have you ever noticed how something so simple as a comment from someone else can brighten our day, or it can leave us feeling down?
The words that we say are so important, and they have so much power. They can either uplift and encourage, or they can insult and disrespect others. We can motivate someone to change their life for the better, or we can discourage them from ever trying to improve themselves. We can influence a person to do right or to do wrong. The words we say can affect someone for life.
Needless to say, how we communicate with others is not something that should be taken lightly. When we put little thought into what we say and how we say it, the results are often undesirable. If you have ever said something and later regretted it, you know easy it is to let things just fly out of our mouth without considering the effects it will have on others, or even ourselves.
Consider verbal and emotional abuse – which are no joke. It has been said that these types of abuse are just as damaging as physical abuse. That’s a sobering thought. Many of us would never dare strike out at someone with our fist, but we have to consider, are we doing so with our words? Do we motivate and encourage others with our words, or do we put others down?
That’s where self-control comes in. We have the ability to stop the negative words before they even come out of our mouths. It requires stopping and thinking, considering the words we would like to say, are they beneficial? Is this a wise thing to say? Will it cause others to feel disrespected? Am I bringing about a peaceful solution or am I making the problem worse? And then once you’ve thought it out, proceed with a respectful response.
This is a simple way we can implement what is known as the STOP acronym. It stands for STOP, THINK, consider your OPTIONS, then PROCEED with the right choice, which is a choice that won’t cause harm to yourself, others, anyone’s property, or the environment.
If this one basic principle were applied in all interactions between people, it would essentially eliminate all conflicts.