The past few days I have been thinking about the power of the word. I am not speaking in the biblical sense although the bible does say what you speak with you tongue is taken into your heart( very literal translation) What I am talking about is what we share with others. Words that are texted, written, blogged and spoken. I am known for my bluntness and have taken some amount of pride in that. I often say don't ask me if you don't want to know something because I have long ago stopped trying to preserve someones feelings if they have asked me a question. My feeling is that if you care enough to ask then you deserve my honest answer. If you want to really know if those pants make your ass look like the Goodyear blimp ask me. But if that question is rhetorical then don't make it in front of me. I am blunt in the ER about odors, teeth, poor hygiene and poor parenting. I am fairly blunt in dealing with most of my everyday contacts but now I am wondering if I need to watch how I say certain things. I am wondering if I have inadvertently injured a friend or co-worker. I am a fierce protector of the freedom of speech but because of recent personal events wonder if we should spend more time thinking of the wounds that our words cause. My heart has ached recently because of words spoken to me and I know that it will take time for those wounds to heal. Are words spoken in anger to be taken to heart? I don't know but I feel that if they are uttered then they were festering in the person who said them. It is difficult not to lash out at those who hurt us. I recommend the old adage of counting to 10 and waiting for the shock to pass. Once spoken they can't be taken back and the damage caused can be deep and long lasting. Texting and IMing is a very incomplete way of communicating even though I personally use it frequently. When you text you can't experience the subtle nuances that a personal conversation can convey so that misunderstandings can develop. Then there is the fact that the text can be reread over and over and foster the hurt and make it deeper and long lasting. I vow to be more circumspect in how I address issues with people. As an example I might educate my patient who is filthy about the need to bathe in relation to disease prevention... umm no maybe that isn't a good example it's just easier to say "look Ms. Smith you have seeping boils because you don't bathe" Maybe if I say it with a smile it will go over better. I will take care with those that I love but I will not couch the truth with meaningless platitudes.
Oh by the way as heartfelt as I feel about what I have written, I stand behind every written word I have put down about those shortsighted, power hungry, morons in Washington. Every word I have spoken about Pelosi, Reid and Obama stands without apology.