Words can hurt or heal
You can brighten someone's life with kind words
PHOTO: CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR
SAY IT IN WORDS But kindly
Tarulatha is frantic with remorse. Yesterday, in anger, she struck out at her best friend with words that she wishes she could take back — she still remembers the shock on her friend's face.
Tvisha has just returned from a visit to her doctor. She had feared that the lump she had was cancerous, but after a thorough examination, the doctor had reassured her that it was not. The doctor's kindness and empathy gave her a moral boost, and she came away calmer than she had gone in. Words, therefore, can be used to heal and soothe.
Curbing our tongue
Anger is an emotion that quite often can make even the most logical of us into ranting creatures. Words spoken in anger can wound, lacerate and leave emotional scars. They can linger in our psyche, sometimes for days and weeks. Childhood taunts burrow into our mind and then may reappear unexpectedly. There are some who justify their hurtful words by saying, “She needs to know, I am being brutally honest just for her sake.' This is a very self-indulgent statement. Being ‘brutally honest' may actually focus on the brutality rather than the honesty.
Why do we hurt the ones we love?
Paradoxically, people we love have the power to hurt us most. Family and close friends are the most vulnerable when it comes to being hurt. Those who are closest to us have the unfair advantage of knowing our weaknesses.
Abuse need not be only physical. Verbal abuse is an insidious but sure way of humiliating someone repeatedly. It can make one lose one's self-esteem. Verbal abuse does not only occur when someone is raising his or her voice. It can be a form of intimidation. It can be abusive just by constantly making fun of someone.
No woman needs to put up with verbal abuse. The important thing is not to cast oneself in the role of a victim — this only encourages the other person to cause more pain. Like all forms of abuse, the perpetrator tries to excuse his behaviour by saying, “She deserved it, she is making me do this”.
Words cannot be taken back
Before we utter words that may inflict pain, it is important to take a deep breath and weigh our options. Letting go of our inhibitions and giving a person a piece of our mind may be momentarily satisfying, but no amount of apologizing will take the relationship back to its original state.
Pain is inevitable: suffering is optional
There is no question that life is full of painful situations. It is within our realm of control to decide how much we are going to suffer. If someone is going to make your life miserable with constant verbal abuse, it is time to distance oneself from that person. It is important to protect your self-esteem and not let someone wear you down with judgmental and venomous words.
Using words to heal
Loving and kind words are often more difficult to utter than thoughtless and cruel words. Everyday, you must look for an opportunity to brighten someone's life with a kind word. Children often remember the one friend who stood by them when all the others were making fun of them. Similarly, kind and sympathetic words spoken from the heart can make the difference between bleak suffering and acceptance.
Forgiveness can place you firmly on the path to healing. The words ‘I forgive you' can invest you with strength and courage to go on after pardoning the person who inflicted so much pain on you.
The author is an obstetrician and gynaecologist practising in Chennai.
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