December 28, 2014

Why Words can Hurt or Heal

The Limits of Interaction on Social Media

I have been thinking about communication lately because some of my Google+ posts have been misunderstood. I’ve noticed that effective interaction is complicated, especially on social media, for many reasons: 

  • Posts are brief, and may not give sufficient information to be clear.
  • People that aren’t native speakers of English may be confused by idiomatic language. 
  • Certain readers of posts may not have the life experience, or values, necessary to relate to certain communications. 
  • Some members of Google+ may not devote enough time to reading something to truly understand it.
It’s a fact that the possibility of miscommunication is high on social media because electronics are not always the most efficient platform for long conversations. They are a platform for quick interactions, sometimes lasting only seconds. Hurried writings are a hotbed for misunderstandings.

The Limits of Interaction in our Professional and Personal Lives

In my book, Accept No Trash Talk, I mention many situations in which some people offend others. These people wish to communicate quickly, and they don’t consider the long-term effects of speaking before they weigh their words. I mention cases of parents, bosses, and authority figures who cause years of mental trauma to those under their supervision. These authorities seem to condemn rather than merely correct people. In other words, they make people feel worthless rather than letting people know, specifically, how they would like the individuals to change.

How Can we Boost Enriching Communication?

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible has many useful quotes on the importance of words. Most of them reference the fact that we should consider the consequences of our words, good or bad, before we speak them:

Note: All quotes are from the King James Version.

Proverbs 10:11
“The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life; but violence overtaketh the mouth of the wicked.”

Proverbs 16:23
“The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.”

Proverbs 13:3
“He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life; but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”

Proverbs 15:1
“A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 10:31
“The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom; but the forward tongue shall be cut out.”

My Conclusion

Words are literal weapons of the mind. They can hurt or heal, and they have long-term consequences.

Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

Did your words hurt or heal today?

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