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Harmful Forms Of Speaking To Avoid

Updated on April 18, 2010

Verbal Communication is a necessary avenue through which humans communicate. Speaking is a part of verbal communication, as well as listening and even the written word. Through speaking, a person can share thoughts, emotions and desires. At times, that which a person thinks, feels and wants may be dangerous due to the adverse affects that it would cause to another person if those things of the heart were put into words.

Words have the power to build or break down a person, and the effects of them can linger for years - even an entire lifetime. The life changing influence of words in personal, professional and national circles is a fact, and because of this the negative energy of careless forms of speaking should be avoided at all costs.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones and words have the power to kill."

5 Harmful Forms Of Speaking

Slander involves the making of false and malicious statements for the purpose of damaging the reputation of another. In legal terms this is known as the defamation of character. Common reasons for slandering is driven from jealousy, revenge and hatred.

Gossip is the spreading of intimate details of the affairs of another for entertainment. The infamous grapevine effect is birthed from gossip, and many times the rumors spread are changed each time the particular message is sent along. There is typically no concern for the welfare of the person that the information is related to, and as a result harm can be done to the reputation of that person.

Lies are deliberate statements meant to deceive, that is driven from a variety of motives. While it may be argued that lies can be spoken for a noble reason, the effect of lies can be quite damaging - trust can be broken down, hearts shattered and relationships damaged. The common phrase "web of deception" relates to lies, and that's what lies truly do. Lies can make life harder and complicated.

Cursing involves speaking words to pronounce misfortune upon someone. Actually, cursing doesn't even have to include profanity. Many times people say things out of anger and then later on say "I didn't mean that". Giving the benefit of the doubt that those curse words were not meant, the effect of them can still remain and psychologically damage the hearer and receiver of those words.

Malicious Truth is the use of precise facts and details to crush the esteem and/or reputation of another. Telling the truth which is similar to being honest isn't necessarily genuine, as the motivation behind such words makes the difference.

Think Before You Speak

Thinking before speaking can be used as a basic guiding principle to avoid speaking in harmful forms. These are some questions to ask yourself to practice this principle.

  • How would I feel if I was being talked to or talked about in that particular form?
  • Are my words going to be beneficial to the hearer?
  • Are my words going to defame or tear down another?
  • What is my motive for saying these things?

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

from Touched by an E-mail: Class of 2000 by Dennis D. Mog (Editor)


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