“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours,” Monty Python comic Eric Idle once said, highlighting that speech really can hurt.
The eighth of the 16 Guidelines For Life — right speech — takes away fear, brings hope, and makes people laugh and feel closer to one another.
“To change my speech, I have to control my thoughts first,” says fundraiser Cristian Cowan, from Brazil.
“Skillfully thinking of the words that match what the person needs to hear, as well as expressing what we need to say in a way that can be heard and felt lovingly is right use of speech,” says Lori Goldblatt of Still Studio in Ancaster.
I used to be called “slave driver.” says New York fashion design manager Angie Prewitt. “Though I was successful, no one liked me.
“I now understand how much suffering my words caused those people that I was so angry at. Now I smile and laugh more and have a positive effect on others. I respect myself now.”
Craig Mackie prototyped a “principles program” at Pine River Institute, a boarding school for teens with addictions in Orangeville.
“When there is the opportunity to share with others truthfully, from your heart, saying what is important to you, it makes it OK for others to do that,” he sayd. “Right speech is when those two things match up. It can be scary, but it can be relieving and empowering.”
Try this: When was the last time that you said something that made you cringe? For the next hour, take care over every word that you say, speaking only words that contribute to the welfare of the person you are talking to. Listen deeply to discover what those words need to be.
To nominate someone in the community who is guided by these guidelines, click on the comment link below.
Dekyi-Lee Oldershaw, director of The Centre for Compassion and Wisdom in Burlington, is coauthor of 16 Guidelines For Life, available at website centreforcompassionandwisdom.com.