Culture

We are all familiar with the old nursery rhyme ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.’ Many of us were told this in response to bullying and name-calling, and while this idea that words are not powerful enough to break us down or harm us in any way is momentarily comforting, it is also far from the truth. Words have more power than people give them credit for. Whether they are on paper or being said out loud, words can be just as effective as sticks and stones. They might not be able to leave physical bruises and scars but they can divide a nation, end friendships, and start wars.

It sounds like I am talking about words as if they are separate entities that we have no control over, but the truth is, words are us. They give us a way to communicate what we think and how we feel. Words allow us to copy ourselves down on paper or plant a part of ourselves in the ears of anyone who will listen. And once they are spoken, these words become the property of other people. Not in the sense that they own what we say, but in the sense that they own their interpretation of our message.

No one has figured out how to take back words after they have been spoken just yet so  it is always important to remember that once you say something, you can’t unsay it. Your words can have a lasting effect even if you said them several months ago. This is why it’s always a good idea to only say what you mean. Often times we get into an argument with our friends and we only say hurtful things because we were angry and wanted to hurt the other person. It is during those times when we need to be careful with our word because sometimes we don’t say what we mean, but the person on the receiving end of our words don’t know that.

All they know is that their emotional response to the words that were just spoken can’t be taken care of as easily as a month old pizza stain on a shirt. The words, while they have a chance to set in, can’t be washed away once they are embedded in the fabric of a person’s thoughts. A girl in my class once said that it was important to always be impeccable with your word. I had never heard this phrase before (it’s one of Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements) but once she explained what being impeccable with your word meant, it all made sense.

Impeccable in it’s simplest form means without flaws; something that is perfect. But because there is no such thing as perfection, when impeccable is being applied to words, it takes on an entirely different definition. It’s all about, again, saying what you mean and realizing that there is power in your words. Then, after realizing that power, you have to try to speak with integrity. Be honest when you speak and try to say more positive things than negative. You might not think any of this applies to you now, but it does. We don’t see it as much as we should, but we are always saying things without thinking and we allow ourselves to fall back on our youth as an excuse for the things that we say. But even though we are young, we are still held accountable for our words.

Don’t be remembered for the hurtful or untruthful things you say. Instead, be more honest; more impeccable with your words by realizing that they do have the ability to hurt people if you use them for that purpose. We are the only ones who can decide what we want to say and how we want to say it.

Image: Nina J.G.

CultureInspirationSkills

We’ve all seen, or at least heard of the movie “Yes Man” staring funnyman Jim Carrey, or as his parents know him, James Eugene Carrey. Although completely outlandish and (somewhat) unrealistic, the movie has a point. We go through our lives saying ‘no’ to whip on our mochas, ‘no’ to going out with the friend we just met because we are “too tired,” and ‘no’ (or more realistically “NOOOOOO!”) to our mothers when they ask us to take out the trash when in reality we are saying ‘no’ to a lot more than a couple bags of garbage. It’s human to be scared of the unknown, especially when it involves a bit of work. Heck, I’m scared of the unknown. But being aware of your fear and doing something about it are two very separate things. I’m not urging you to give homeless men rides home, but rather, urging you to do something you’d typically decline.

In our day and age, we are accustomed to exerting as little energy as humanly possible when we are not required to do so. Think of all the afternoons that turn into evenings you spend watching Netflix. Who knew there were so many movies that you’ve never even heard of! While it’s relaxing and easy to just lay in bed for 6+ hours after a hard day of work, there is something to be said for trying something new and saying ‘yes’ to an offer to go shuck oysters with a friend.

Want to know the answer to obliterating FOMO? Don’t ever put yourself in a situation where you think you coulda/shoulda/woulda. This is not to say that you should say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that presents itself because I know there are days when I actually cannot handle anything after a day at work and I’d rather lay in bed doing nothing. That’s okay. It’s okay because that’s what I wanted to do, I said ‘yes’ to myself. Woah. Never thought of it that way did ya? It’s all about balance. Don’t you just love how everyone is always talking about balance? Just so you know, I’m no therapist or counselor so I can say I can talk about balance without making you want to roll your eyes. I’m just a human going through my human life learning how to make it all work. I’m saying ‘yes,’ and life is saying ‘yes’ right back. Why not give it a whirl!

Image via Velcrosuit