Becky Says...

2000-07-05

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Watching What You Say

There are some sayings that I disagree with. The one on my mind today is the one about how sticks and stones may break bones but words won't hurt. Guess what! The potential that anyone will hurt me with a stick or a stone is pretty minimal. But someone hurting me with words is a possibility out there every day.

And yesterday I saw words wounding someone I care about. It's entirely possible that in the ensuing hours he has healed some, but I'm angry on his behalf, because it made less pretty an otherwise lovely day for him. A day that should have been umblemished.

Once you say something out loud, or on paper, or by having it show up on a web page, it's said. If you've made some error, you will have a very hard time retracting it, if it's possible at all. And if you've hurled a spurious accusation, you'll wind up looking bad.

I'm suggesting caution here, not censorship. Caution in how you air your opinion, and caution in your choice of words. I'm suggesting that you be sure of the facts before hurling accusations. I'm asking you to watch what you say. It will make your life much easier. You'll have fewer things to regret or try to repair. And a well-stated point is likely to earn you some respect.

If you disagree with someone, fine. We don't all share the same point of view. But please frame your disagreement in ways that show respect for the other person's humanity.

Otherwise, you'll look a lot less like a complete human, and more like a complete jackass.

If, that is, anyone bothers to look.

Text copyright 2000 Becky