This is one of my primary sources of unhappiness with myself. The words we speak matter, how we talk to other people matters and our discourse as a people matters. Apart from the last one, which I’ve only recently managed to get under control, I fail at being mindful constantly.
Our words relay our thoughts, but there also seems to be this mechanism in there where our words escape before our thoughts have a chance to check them. It’s odd, but it’s there.
Part of a mindful lifestyle is being in control of what we say and how we say it.
Instant, non-face-to-face communication has not been helpful in this regard, and neither has the internet and its capacity to connect everyone. Let’s look at all three things mentioned above.
I used to not believe there are such things as “bad” words. I still kind of don’t. On the surface it seems like a stupid concept. Yet, that being said, it is a concept widely accepted by the society I live in, so people are going to perceive me a certain way when I use certain words. It may affect my ability to help them. Beyond this, I think these words affect how I see myself and how I feel if I am honest. I have never gotten less angry from swearing. More than anything though, apart from when I intentionally use these words, my mouth represents a place of mindlessness, and this makes it worth addressing.
As I said, getting accustomed to non-face-to-face communication, especially the anonymity of the internet, has led us to a place where how we speak to each other is a problem. There is a part of me that thinks we lost something when we removed the consequences that one can incur by saying something about someone else to their face. How we speak to others influences how we see them, and tells us something about ourselves. We then take these perceptions and feed them back into how we act, creating a reinforcing loop.
How we speak to others matters.
Our public discourse is the saddest part of how we speak right now. I don’t care which side of the political divide you find yourself on, the discourse has become so toxic that it doesn’t seem fixable at this point. This applies from internet news magazines feeling comfortable telling elected members of the government to “eat shit” to people feeling comfortable calling each other cuck and fascist and libtard and white supremacist based on a difference of opinion. When we look at this in context of the reinforcing loop it creates, it becomes a scary situation. In this regard I’ve found it might simply be best to learn to keep my mouth shut.
How mindful are you of how you speak to others?
This doesn’t just apply to strangers and members of our community, but our spouses and children and co-workers. Even the annoying ones.
What would your speech sound like if you were mindful of it at every moment?