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Personal growth: Being mindful of the words we choose June 18, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal growth.
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If our self-improvement program includes developing the qualities of tolerance, generosity, and acceptance, then we need to remind ourselves to be careful in the words we use to describe the character and actions of others.

Constructive criticism or thoughtful analysis can help the recipient of our words, but if our words are chosen poorly, the resulting message can be harsh and hurtful; thereby destroying the intended purpose of our communications.

This thought is not new; but it might be useful for us to reflect on how often we may rush to judgement or unthinkingly lash out verbally with “clever” words and end up damaging the very people we are trying to help.

There’s and old maxim which says that words can wound more deeply than a knife.

And, once the words are out there, they cannot be taken back.

Here’s some insight on this thought from the ancient Chinese Book of Songs:

“Defects in a white jade scepter
can still be polished away,
but for the defects in your words,
there’s nothing to be done.” (1)

(1) The Chinese Book of Songs, # 256, referenced in a footnote in David Hinton’s book, The Four Chinese Classics

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