I still remember the first few days I arrived in the dorms at Davis. I tried talking to people around me and I was a scared little puppy. When I started to communicate, people didn't understand my Malaysian accent and I was asked to repeat what I was saying many many times. After a couple of failed attempts, people stopped asking and I stopped talking.
That was when I met a special person who took me under his wings. He nurtured me, taught me how to speak like them plus other fancy vocabularies, and scolded me when I didn't stand up for myself. All his mentoring changed me: my confidence was brimming and I was no longer afraid to speak up. I am forever indebted to this wonderful and lovely person.
In the pursuit to better my communication skills, I took this class called Interpersonal Communication and boy, it changed my life. I realized that I took for granted the importance of communications in my daily life, and I was practicing some damaging communications skills. Quoting from the textbook that I still keep today,
"We spend our lives communicating. From the moment we're born we interact in meaningful ways with other humans beings... Eventually, we discover that communication enables us to connect with and understand the unique inner worlds of others....Communications is transformed from a vehicle for self-expression to a means for building relationships"- Reflect and Relate by Steven McCornack.
This definition is universal to all human, no matter how introverted you are. The point of all my rambling is that, through communications (verbal or not), we exchange meaning, feelings, thoughts, expressions. It is a pretty darn powerful way to interact!
Never in any circumstances shall we undermine the power of words. Words are NOT just words. "The words we exchange profoundly affect not only our interpersonal communications and relationships but also others" (Steven McCornack). I remember my lecturer's childhood anecdote that she shared during the mentioned class. My lecturer was often bullied by her sister when she was a little girl and when she cried running to her mom, her mom would comfort her by saying that "words are words, nothing more than that". However, if this was true, why didn't she feel better? She was still hurt and emotionally scarred by her sister's teasing and verbal abuse.
The truth is, whether we do mean or not the words we utter, we must take responsibility of the things we say. We must be aware that when we say things, it is like throwing an imaginary ball encapsulating a message to someone. We say words, people will take it as a verbal manifestation of your intention (regardless of your REAL intention, if any) and your words have the ability to excite, humiliate, elevate, or hurt others. Words can make a person reach the highest point of elation (eg: "I love you" , "Marry me?" , "You made me the luckiest person alive") or cause irreversible damage (eg: "I don't love you anymore" , personal attacks, hurtful and insincere comments).
Sometimes we say things we don't mean to say. Sometimes we're driven by emotions. Sometimes we don't realize that the words we say actually matter. They do! They matter alot. Especially the words of people we love and admire.
There's no way we can be "immune" to hurtful utterance. There's no way to delete our memory of a negative comment. There's no way we can just disregard the words that were not "meant" to be said, the accidental remarks. We are humans with feeling, not robots. Hurtful and negative words cause irreversible damage to people and relationships. It can take months to get over and sometimes it'll stick around in our permanent memory for eternity. Do we want this to happen to our loved ones?
So the point of all these is a mental reminder for myself and for sharing purposes, because I have been awakened by the power of hurtful and damaging words. Let's be careful and wary of the things we say to others as in Think Before We Speak. Spend a couple of seconds to decide how the words we choose are going to affect others. Because I still can't find the Vaccination against Hurtful Comments or the spell to Turn the Clock.
When we hurt people, people will leave us.
Footnote: THREE (3) of my girlfriends I talked to has bought the communications bibles I recommended below. Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus is the best-seller that covers the quintessential of cross-gender communications while Mars and Venus Together Forever reiterates the same concept, but in the context of a relationship or marriage. You and your man will find it useful. It definitely made a difference in my relationship(s).
Above:Take home msg from this piece: W0men need empathy, not solutions, while men need to be appreciated and express themselves through actions.
P/s: I immensely enjoyed Shrek 3 (I know I am late :P).
Healthnote: Jogged 3 laps, 1 breakfast shake, normal lunch, fruit salad and dinner was rice, mixed vegs, fish and egg.