There was a time in my life when I had written detailed letters to family and friends about my adventures and experiences in my travels and everyday life. These were the happiest times when not a single negative word or thought could flow from my fingertips onto paper. As time passed, and life became a bit more challenging, I realized that my writing style became equally challenged.
Just today, I experienced this when I remembered I had not yet replied to a lengthy email from a dear family member in Germany. Normally, I try to reply within a day, but that particular day I had not been at a great place. Here it was almost a month later, with me in a much better mood, when I decided to write a response equal in length to her letter.
I had started to fill her in on all that had happened since my son left for college back in September. I mean all of it! When I saw all the details I had shared and about things that no longer mattered, I decided to delete some details. Thinking that I had answered her questions and reacted to most of her updates, I felt better with this final and shortened version. When I looked up and saw how long it took me to write, or not-write, this email, I was surprised until I realized how much I had pruned by trimming details, unnecessary words, and some of the images I had described. By removing some less-then-happy events, which are in my past, I was able to hold on to the good feelings of now and offer just-as-good a feeling to her.
Realizing the power of words and recognizing how written words can lose their meaning, I suggest that more people read what they are writing and then reread the words from another person’s viewpoint. Because, as we all know, from misunderstood texts or fast-fingered emails, some words cannot be taken back once the Send button is clicked. Take time to prune and trim away the words that cause you or the person you are writing to uneasy feelings. My thoughts are that negative words create a negative feeling; eliminate the words, eliminate the feeling.
Another way to view the power of your words is how they are delivered. The words I use in a two-minute conversation will sound different than the same exact words written on a piece of paper. My spoken messages are words accompanied with the tone of my voice, the speed of my words, and the length of pauses between statements. When written, the same exact words, lose any placed emphasis, emotional tones, and intention as indicated by my volume.
When I was younger, I said and wrote whatever came to mind because, back then, life was less challenging and joy seemed to punctuate everything. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize how speaking and writing are two very different modes of communication which causes me to simply become more aware of my messages. The good news for me is that I discovered that by removing negative words from both modes, messages of a better nature can be sent and received. Imagine how good I can feel knowing my words can have that same effect on others. Good is good, and that is why I try to write what is right for me.