Utterances by their very nature are often said in passing, not meant to stick around, not meant to be given weight. An utterance is defined simply as “a smallest unit of speech.” And, stringing together a series of utterances constitutes a complete thought, whether it’s our side of a conversation or an improvised speech at a podium or simple off-the-cuff observations. We often don’t give much mind to our daily utterances.
But, we should.
A word. It’s such a small elemental thing. But, can have such a tremendous impact. It’s the impact that lingers, has weight and sticks around for as long as the impact has an
effect on someone. Words matter.
And, it’s not just in this day and age of the fast moving Internet, where words travel at the speed of a Tweet and Retweet. The truth is words secure history. They define things like character and reputation and acumen. Since the beginning of recorded time, words have taught, inspired and marked the foundation of beliefs that people still follow and hold true today. Words have also led fear-based revolutions that destroyed governments and created generations of people lost and without hope.
It’s easy to think of historical figures on both sides of this spectrum that have had an impact, positively or negatively. Yes, actions define a person and there is truth to the adage that sometimes actions speak louder than words. However, words are recorded in history and are carried forth from generation to generation. In many cases, it's the words that have defined characters in our human life history. We’re still quoting people who lived hundreds of years ago and are still moved and motivated by their words. It’s probably why #quotes – or many variations: #lifequote, #quoteoftheday, #words, #todaysthought, #wordstoliveby, etc. – are the most used hashtags on social media.
And, it’s why there’s such raw credence to the simple truth that words matter. We feel words deeply, which is why people often have such visceral reactions to what is said, either to them or about something for which they feel strongly.
Words can hurt or elevate us, enrage or sooth us, drive us or stop us in our tracks and make us laugh uproariously or cry hysterically.
Someone said, “Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.” I don’t know who first said it, but it’s so simple and true. We can’t control how our words land or how they’re interpreted. The only thing we can control is what and how they come out of our mouths.
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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com