“Words are potent weapons for all causes, good or bad.” – Manly Hall.
Words can open or close doors. A wise man once said,
“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care,f people will hear them and be influenced by them, for good or ill.”
It’s no wonder how some of us in one way or the other have unconsciously caused a setback in the lives of the people around us. This could be through the promises and judgment we made, the advice we gave, and most importantly, the words we allowed to slip through our mouth. Forgetting that words can damage and words can repair. Words can break and words can mend.
Let’s look at this scenario.
I read a story about a guy who was approached by his cousin years back. She came with so much enthusiasm and joy to sing him a song, seeking his opinion; she wanted to know if she was a good singer or not, she needed to hear what he had to say about her voice.
After hearing her sing, he realized her voice was awful, and he could have told her that, he could have been sincere but he felt he would be letting her down. He saw the excitement in her eyes, he didn’t want to take that away from her, so he nonchalantly told her she had a fabulous voice, he lied to her.
She took his words for it, and her voice was perfect, even when millions of other people were telling her otherwise. She couldn’t care less about their opinions, after all, she’d gotten the approval of the one person that she needed it from the most. Nobody else’s opinions mattered to her.
So, she kept pursuing that music career. Why? Because she trusted his judgment, she trusted him, but she had no idea he’d only lied to her. Unfortunately, she never got the hit, she was always rejected. The career never yielded, she got stuck.
His words have hindered someone’s progress, someone’s goal, someone’s growth and most importantly, someone’s life. He had a great part to share in the blame.
All he had to do was to be honest from the start. And she probably would have trained better or found something else, something that she’s really good at.
Here is another scenario. when I was little, and just started to learn how to cook, I’d get overly excited. The one dish I loved to make most then was stew. I would make it on many occasions for my family. Little did I know my stew tasted like boiled pepper.
One weekend my brother and I were stuck on deciding what to eat, and as usual, I finally suggested that I cook rice and stew. I was excited. My brother declined out rightly without a second thought. I read his expression. That reply was too quick, so I asked further. “Why not?” He replied reluctantly, “I don’t like the taste of your stew, sorry.” He apologized.
Ouch! I was hurt. “But you can make jollof rice, that one always tastes good. I love your jollof rice.” He immediately added as though he’d felt my disappointment.
Despite that, I was perplexed and deeply hurt to find out I sucked at making stew, something I’d enjoyed making most. I had thought I was the best at it. Apparently, I had been wrong.
Although, I was a little hurt at the time, when I look back now, I just smile. But more importantly, I will always respect and appreciate my brother for his honesty, for having the courage to point out my weakness and strength. As frivolous as this may sound, it helped me improve, I “upped” my game, and I became better. And today, I can boldly say that I make a good stew.
However, I understand that when we come across a situation like this, it’s pretty much normal to not want to hurt these people. I mean let’s face it; no one wants to be told that they suck at what they enjoy doing. But would you rather lie to them, give them false hope, have them like you now and hate you in the future when they realize you’d misled them? Or you would tell them the truth now, have them hurt for a while, and have them come back to appreciate you in the future for your honesty? The choice is totally yours. But you’d be doing both yourself and the concerned party a huge favor by choosing the latter.
In the guy’s story above, when the cousin found out she had been deceived, she never looked at him the same way again. Her view of him changed. And believe me, it wasn’t for good.
And I know that some of us may argue that we aren’t responsible for anyone’s misfortune, after all, it was only an opinion we gave, they chose to follow it. I quite agree to an extent. But here’s something I found out recently about life; you may not know it, but you’re probably someone’s mentor or role model. If you’re living a good life or you have a good reputation, there’s a higher chance that someone is following your footsteps, someone is looking up to you, and someone holds dear, and values what you have to say.
I have three mentors, and never for once have I said to any of them what they are to me. I’m pretty sure none of them are aware, they have no idea. Their words and actions are something I don’t take lightly, I always capitalize on them. I always try to emulate them. Their opinions matter to me, than anybody else’s.
The two scenarios above are just a few out of the many ways our words have impacted the lives of the people around us, be it for good or bad. So next time you are about to lie to someone about their “supposedly” dream because you are trying not to hurt them, remember these facts about words by Mike Murdock in his book titled 31 Secrets to Career Success;
“Words determine which dreams live or die.”
“Good men study their words before they speak them.”
“Right words feed and sustain those around you.”
“Wrong words are the reason men fall into error”
You should always have in mind that you can never always tell whose mentor or/and role model you are, who secretly admires and envies you, who’s inspired by you, and who’s hanging on to every word that comes out of your mouth. So choose your words and actions carefully. And know that there’s a difference between encouraging and giving false hopes. Choose to be honest, no matter what. It may hurt now, but at least, you’d be doing the right thing.
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