Cover of Watch Your MouthBy Danny Griffin
No man means all he says and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought it vicious - Henry B. Adams (1838-1913), journalist and member of the Adams political family.
My mother was always threatening to wash my mouth out with soap when I was a kid ... so I challenged her with a wee bit of vulgarity. Not only did she keep her promise, she upped the ante by coming after me with a mop in an attempt to clean me up once and for all.
Obviously since I'm still talking about it, the impact and lesson was important. At first blush, it might seem as simple as a parent trying to reel in the rebellion of just another wild kid pushing the envelope, however, the key point is that I never realized the words were having a much greater negative impact on me than my mother.
I've come to realize that although the brain is wired a certain way upon birth, it can be changed either over time or in an instant during a traumatic event. Regardless of the circumstance, we tend to attach great emotion to any situation and create a picture in our minds ... a virtual movie. That movie is then added to our in-brain library and plays both on-demand or consciously and automatically or subconsciously.
When anything dominates our mind, we feel compelled to give it life through words. If the emotions are positive we tend to use wonderful words to release the movie to the public, often times in a very conscious way. However, what if the movie is a tragedy filled with pain and suffering? Who wants to talk about that ... throw that thing in the back of the library and lock it down. Not so easy.
You have no choice. There's no delete button to get rid of your bad movies and that's where the words get downright ugly. What would you say to somebody if they walked up and tapped you on the shoulder right after you just watched a story where you were the victim? Would you snap on them with a forked tongue? How about watching somebody else play the hero compared to your worst when your were the zero? Would you say anything you could to discredit them?
You see it's very easy to spit nasty words and not even realize you're doing it ... even the nicest people fall down on this one. Why? Because we all have movies we're we flop and it's hard not to talk negatively when we remember them. Since these events are impossible to erase, how do we keep them form causing us to be hurtful with our words?
Why not just listen to what we say? Of course it's not very difficult to remember when we had a case of the nasties, with a side of anger and if we take a minute to look in the rear view mirror we'll hear the echo of the words. What did we say? Wow! That bad huh? Yes! Who did we say them to? Our family? Our best friends? A complete and innocent stranger? If this were a standardized test the answer would be (E) All of the Above.
The reason we need to stop doing this asap is because even though it's hurting other people, it's killing us. Why? These negative words are the food we're feeding our brains. We're giving even more life to the negative movies and building them into mechanisms of self-destruction and blinding us to the great opportunities life is offering! So next time you spew some poison, just remember my mother is coming after you with the mop yelling, "watch your mouth!"
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