Chapter 13 - Choosing “WORDS” Wisely
In my opinion, words are the most unskilful way to communicate. My theory around this statement goes something like this:
Every situation triggers some emotion in humans. The ones that are produced by us from experiences are the purest and unadulterated form of emotion according to me. For instance, when I am sitting near a beach silently listening to the waves, I feel immense contentment. The emotion that I experience at the time is natural and is usually “created” by my mind.
On the other hand, I strongly believe that words carry some emotions with them and these usually mix up with our internal emotion-generating mechanism. This often results in us producing biased and unreliable emotions. To put this in an example, I was once filling a job application that asked me to rate my proficiency in English. The options given were: - Beginner - Intermediate - Advanced - Proficient.
I thought to myself “Proficient obviously!” but then I paused and asked, “what is so obvious about it?” So here is what I came to realize:
The word “proficient” carried a certain type of emotion that gave me a sense of superiority and without checking for facts, I had this urge to select the said option. The literal meaning of proficient is to be an expert in something and I don’t think so I have reached that stage. There are so many emotions that we feel because of this secret manipulation that takes place in our minds without us noticing.
“She has a weird name” vs “She has a unique name”
I tried to feel the difference in my perception by reframing the sentences and realized that words can be extremely powerful in both damaging or flourishing one’s life if not used skillfully. So what then? How do I learn to use my words more skillfully? Silence!
Silence is the only way that creates both a space between stimulus and response and it is also a brilliant way to contemplate the words exchanged. When the emotions from words cease to hit us like rogue waves, we become more equipped to listen to the other person. We are able to “be” in the conversation, understand the other person better because our mind is not battling with the emotions that words carry with them. As a result, the quality of our conversations will improve, our minds will be more aligned with the situation giving us enough time and space to respond more skillfully.
PS: I am using “words” to describe my experience in this blog and thus it is subject to varieties of perceptions that can be derived. Choose the perception that would add more value to your thought process.
Ending this blog with a snack for your mind:
“Why try to blend in when you are born to stand out!”
~ Anila Andezhath