I don’t think it was always this way. I can’t say that I know, though. But I can say that others may not have spoken so harshly and brashly before- I feel we, as a society, have lost touch with the art of communication.
As a Christian I know that I will always walk a thin line, on thin ice, when it comes to self expression. Mainly because I have to stop and ask myself if these words will show God’s light. It’s not easy. Many say it isn’t fair. But it is life. Because if I speak out of anger, or just speak with no thought on what my words may mean to someone else- I can cause them pain. I also have to take into consideration what others are going through before I take their words to heart.
Now, it can be argued that this is what it takes to be a decent human being, not just a Christian. I won’t argue with that. I’m simply telling you how I got to this plane of thinking- this thought process.
I will challenge anyone who stumbles upon this post to think before allowing words to simply flow from their mouth (or hands in today’s age). I know we’ve heard this a million times before “think before you speak”.. but I don’t think enough time is granted for that voyage.
Let me add- I’m no saint. I speak quickly and can be just as quick to anger. This is just as much for me as it is for anyone else.
I recently encountered a situation where someone who was “trying to help” sends me a link that discusses and compares depression to self pity. In this post there were bible verses during and at the end. Don’t get me wrong- the Lord discusses mourning, anger, pain, all emotions really, in the Bible. But I do not appreciate a link being thrown my way when there was no time spent on the actual thought process. The act was meant to be helpful and encouraging. But unfortunately, I was offended because I am diagnosed with clinical depression, PTSD, and anxiety. I am not pitying myself. I do not choose this for myself. I actively have to work every moment to see things in a different light.
I could have lashed out (am I lashing out right now..?) and told this person all of this. But I chose not to respond for two reasons: 1. Unless you have it- or love someone who has it, you won’t understand; and 2. What is this person going through? A LOT. This persons world has been turned upside down and everything they knew to be true turned out to be a lie.
I learned that when you are going through what reason 2 is going through- there isn’t much reason coming and going. It’s simply survival and a desperate plea for any emotion that isn’t pain. “The best way to help yourself is to help others” and OF COURSE there is a clause or footnote on this. The person was trying to be helpful and unintentionally offended me. I’ll survive LOL.
Look, I can’t actually tell what the art to communication is. Because it is different for each person you encounter. The current state of said person is the variable. Culture… People are the variable. Your own state of mind is the variable. BUT I truly believe if we stopped and thought about the impact of our words, at least attempted to educate ourselves on these variables, then two things will happen 1. Thoughtful communication will occur and 2. A lot less will be said. (Sometimes it isn’t worth it- the effort, the most likely outcomes, etc.) And of course there are times we can work through every word of our sentence, every variable we know of and still offend someone. It’s ok to offend someone, it’s going to happen. It is a constant of life, a staple. What I hope happens after that though, is constructive communication.
I’m no activist for saying less. I’m an activist for saying less that means more. Or write a book that means everything. Just think out what you have to say before you say it. Regret leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. You can’t unring a bell. And unfortunately what may take 5 seconds to say, can take 5 years to repair.
Words are free… it’s how you use them that may cost you.