The Immeasurable Power of a Word Slip

It’s been years since I graced this blog, so forgive me if I sound a little off. Like the first time I wrote an entry, though, there are thoughts in my mind that just won’t shut up. They have taken over my supposed good day, and are now threatening to overthrow my good sense — meaning it’s hindering me from working.

So let me vent.

Don’t worry, it will be amusing.

Have you ever been in a position where you say things about someone without really thinking why you’re saying it? Some people call it word vomit, others a slip. Whatever you call it, it imprints an effect on people.

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The effects vary in degrees, depending on what you let slip and just how important you are to the person you’re addressing with these words. Regardless, it’s an effect.

In the most basic of interactions, like a restaurant server and a customer, it could be fleeting. A comment like “move faster” is easily shrugged off, unless, of course, that person has his own deep-rooted hatred towards being asked to move faster than the sloth it was compared to.

There are thoughtless comments though that unintentionally change people. You may want the adverse effect or you may just want to make the person feel bad, but really, you have no control over the results you create.

I have seen this happen so many times, and I’ve been on both ends. Never to the extent that those I’m trying to call out here have gone, I hope. I’ve witnessed this in real life, and alarmingly, on most social media platforms. People resort to thoughtless ad hominem because of a political squabble. Good if it was at least based on facts, but most are ill-conceived. It’s unfortunate that people find the time to put these comments up, but not enough time to Google their validity. Guess it’s easier to say things you never took the time to think through, than it is to challenge your current bias or improve your instinctive responses.

Ever thought to stop and ask what random, negative comments say about you?

 

Because these are spur of the moment comments, it reveals more of you than it does about the person you’re addressing. You call them an idiot, and it shows how easy it is for you to reduce people to their ability to think, rather than their other contributions. You compare them to another person you deem as incompetent when they’re actually helping just because they’re not doing it at your pace shows your lack of grace and gratitude. Resorting to thoughtless rhetoric to make yourself feel better and the other worse shows how self-centered you are. It also reveals that, instinctively, the only way you can motivate people is through negativity.

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What do you think you’ve accomplished by doing that?

If you’re thinking you’ve gotten people to work harder for you, you’re wrong. You’ve convinced them to stay as far away from you as they can when they work. Do you comfort yourself with the thought that you’re only inspiring them to move faster and be better? No, you’re telling them that they’re not worth respect.

Although we are all human and will inevitably make mistakes like this, try… try not to. It’s one thing to do it, apologize and aspire not to do it again. It’s another to resort to it each time you want to gain the upper hand.

Be better, you owe the world and yourself that.