Speak with Care

It goes without saying that most people want to be understood. If you are among them, it makes sense that you would take responsibility for communicating your thoughts, opinions and feelings clearly and accurately.

In a recent couples counseling session, one of my clients said, “People say stupid stuff when they’re angry.” Right. And anger is not the only thing that prompts people to say stupid stuff. Speaking carelessly without regard for the consequences can happen in many situations and for lots of reasons. Usually, thoughtless speech is the result of an impulse, an automatic mental or emotional reaction. In most of our personal encounters this is not a problem. However, at moments that matter, a careless word, tone or gesture can, indeed, create a problem.

Everything you say and do, and the way you say and do it, communicates something. For that reason it is important – at moments that matter and in relationships that matter – to know yourself and what you project to others. Thus, you will be more likely to communicate clearly and accurately, so that others will understand what you intend to convey.

One of my clients has numerous health problems. She and her husband have a rocky relationship, and one of their children is disrespectful. She has suffered major childhood trauma. She lacks self-esteem, and does not exercise good self-care. She has had to deal with rough, mean-spirited men, who use curse words constantly. She has picked up on this bad energy, and she uses a lot of foul language. 

Consider this idea: her careless use of language affects her feelings and her thoughts. It affects her self-image, and is in turn a product of her self-image. I propose that her frequent cursing affects her in at least two ways. First, her use of foul language communicates that she is crude and ignorant. Has her husband come to see her as unrespectable? That is possible. He has cheated on her more than once, and shows no guilt or shame about it. Does he think of her negatively, partly because she drops the f-bomb routinely? What kind of man wants to be with a woman who swears like a sailor, as the saying goes? Secondly, her use of foul language creates a negative vibe for herself; it maintains her pessimistic view of life. In addition, does her use of foul language reveal what she thinks of herself? For example, that she is a low-life, dirty, lacking in self-discipline and good manners? Does the use of foul language perpetuate her self-image as a victim, a loser, someone whose life will never get any better?

Speaking carelessly and thoughtlessly not only affects others. It can also have a deep impact on one’s own self-image and emotions. If this becomes a habit, it can do real damage to a person’s overall well-being. All of us would benefit from talking the time to consider what and how we are communicating – with and without words – and how our attempts to communicate affect others and ourselves. This may seem awfully complicated. In fact, it is. So, this kind of problem may not be one that you could resolve on your own. It may require outside help.

If this article speaks to you, and if you are ready to improve the way you speak and communicate in general, you have numerous options. Books, podcasts, videos, etc. They’re all available. But if you’d like to address this in person with a professional, please feel free to call. The number is (219) 309-3928. It would be a pleasure to be of service.

For more thoughts click Think, Then Speak

Thanks for reading!