Choosing words wisely

The one freedom that is commonly and constantly misused is the freedom of speech. Seldom does one realise that words convey what makes a man. What is said talks more about the person than about the subject matter that is being expressed.

Oblivious to this fundamental truth that our words reflect our personalities, we are often engaged in an unnecessary and unwise babble from dawn to dusk. Selecting what is to be said and making a conscious choice of using appropriate words in one’s language is not the sole responsibility of Diplomats and world dignitaries.

Rather it is the fundamental duty of every man. Nepoleon Bonaparte said it right as he emphasised that, “We rule the world by our words.”

Words chosen prudently, woven together thoughtfully and spoken humbly have changed the course of history in the annals of human existence.

From the well-articulated thoughts of Dr Martin Luther King in his remarkable speech, “I have a dream,” to the world-acclaimed “Gettysburg address,” by Abraham Lincoln, the words used in these speeches have dispelled the darkness of prejudice that engulfed the mindsets of people of their time.

The power-packed words behind these soul-stirring speeches brought about such revolutions that slaves were freed, downtrodden were emancipated and the true spirit of universal brotherhood began to spread like wildfire for the first time, bringing peace and progress on an unparalleled scale.

Words used well in a conversation make interactions pleasant and meaningful. Good conversationalists are people who have mastered the wonderful quality of using the right words at the right place. Besides these pros also have the admirable nature of leaving unsaid those tempting words at intimidating moments. Such people are naturally welcome anywhere and they make friends and influence people with much ease and grace.

Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist and philosopher, summarised it well when he said, “Cold words freeze people, hot words scorch them, bitter words make them bitter and wrathful words make them wrathful. Kind words on the other hand produce their own image on men’s souls and a beautiful image it is. They soothe, and quiet and comfort the hearer.”

It does pay then to form the habit of becoming aware of the set of vocabulary that rules our speech. Taking an inventory of the words we often use is a fruitful exercise. Eliminating all negative and unnecessary words and filling in courteous, optimistic and needed words will enhance one’s personality and make his communication effective. Choosing carefully what we say will transform the way we see ourselves and the world around us.

This will eventually lead to better understanding, richer relationships and a peaceful vibe all around.

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