Our ability to “create meaning from words” –– wordsmithing–– is such a wonderful gift. (In case, you’re unfamiliar with the word, it means skilled in using words.)
I agree with J.K. Rowling. Words are magic and that magic is found in how we choose to use words.
When I write, I seek not just any word but the perfect word to convey my meaning. For example, when describing a character’s departure, I could say
He stormed out.
He ambled away.
He darted away.
He wandered away.
Each sentence suggests a different departure. I select the most appropriate one based upon the contextual meaning I want to convey to my reader.
Too often, such care is not given. If you spent much time on social media, I’m sure you’ve noticed this.There’s definitely not much wordsmithing happening in some of the FB posts on my feed. Evidently, others feel the same way. Many of my FB friends have deserted because of all the negativity.
Unfortunately, being a good wordsmith is a choice. And, we can only control our choices, not the choices others make.
We do need to remember what Yehuda Berg saysPoor or careless word choices can inflict damage both physically and emotionally. Using the wrong words can be construed as bullying, harassment, and/or slander and there are laws against bullying, harassment, and slander.
We need to make our word selections carefully. How? Try these six things.
- Filter your thoughts before you speak them. Thoughts that might bring negative feelings or trouble—eliminate those. Choose instead to use words that create serenity.
- Commit to no complaints and no gossip about anything or anyone, including yourself. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.
- If a complaint is unavoidable, find words to express appreciation first, no matter how small that thing may seem. Positive words have the power to change a situation.
- Communicate with constructive and affirmative words. When your speech contains optimistic phrasing, you’ll discover others are more likely to respond the same way.
- Make a concerted effort to say thank you more often. Kind words generate happy feelings in you and those to whom you are speaking.
- Share happy stories and good news often. When you come from a place of gratitude, others will be joyful with you.
Can you add anything else to the list?
This is so very true. Too often, I go to bed at night unable to sleep because I’ve used the exact words needed to destroy another. This is against my religion, my morals, and my own self-esteem.
So why do I do it? I seem to have more negative words in my vocabulary than positive.
Think of the movie, You’ve Got Mail, when Tom Hanks covers Meg Ryan’s mouth with his hand. He knows she is about to say something she’ll always regret. Where is Hanks when we need him?