The Spoken Word

There are regrets for things I have said. The times when honesty lacked the tempering of compassion. When emotions ruled over kindness. When my words cut rather than healed. And I need those regrets. I need those experienced reminders of how thoughtful I must be about what I say.

I am fully aware of the effect of my words when I write. I painfully work to ensure that they are a positive influence, or at a minimum, benign and not offensive or hurtful to anyone. Maybe it is their permanence that requires me to do so. I have no regrets about anything I have ever written. And if something I have written has ever offended anyone, then I would be ready to argue the reader is overly sensitive.

But the words I speak do not get this kind of critical inspection. They are perceived as short-lived and to a limited audience. They are a representation of immediate thought and discourse without the benefit of pause or introspection. They are steeped in the emotions of the moment. They are reflective of common stereotypes and categorizations. They are not instinctive nor are they well-conceived. They are not who I am or who I want to be, even though they are the immediate representation I give to others when speaking.

They hold all the power that the written word has, but I put much less effort into being a good steward of that power. These spoken words may not lay on a page forever haunting you for a momentary lapse, but they cut just as deep as any. And they do so in a more personal and direct way.

Sadder still, are the words left unspoken. It is easy to recognize when the words we speak are negative, hurtful, or misinformed. But it is impossible to determine the effect of the words we leave unexpressed. Is it not just as egregious to leave a kind word unspoken as it is to utter a harsh word? Those opportunities to be supportive, understanding, and caring with a simple heartfelt sentence. The chances to reassure someone they are not alone in their struggles, depression, or grief. The occasions to let someone know they are heard, appreciated, or loved.

It is here that I must better apply myself and my beliefs. I must give every word I produce, written or spoken, the same consideration. I must weigh what is spoken and demand the same expectations of my mouth that I do for my fingers. I must not miss the opportunities to share a kind word and eliminate the times my words are anything less than that. I must continue to look deep within and set higher expectations for myself. I must continue to strive to do better and be the better self I so desire to be.

Comments
2 Responses to “The Spoken Word”
  1. You are already on this path, maybe so much further than you realize. You speak in kindness often now, and you listen before responding in ways you didn’t used to do. I’m proud of where you’re heading, but I’m equally as proud of where you are.

    • Brad Osborne says:

      When you are moving forward there is a tendency to only look ahead. Thank you for reminding me to turn around and see how far I’ve come. Your opinion and words mean everything to me.

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