Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordly Wise

Words equal power.

In this day of instant communication, and society’s seemingly incessant need to purge itself at every turn, we forget this. In my quest these last couple of years for something more substantial, I’ve discovered that there are consequences to the words we choose. Joel Osteen refers to it as speaking a blessing – when we proclaim ‘woe is me’ or ‘my ex is a worthless sack of you-know-what’, we are ultimately putting the kibosh on good vibes intended for us.

You may not believe in God, or any sort of higher power; that’s your prerogative. You might, though, agree with me that sorry, negative language never benefits anyone. Sure, you may feel better after popping off at the distracted woman behind the counter, but odds are you’ve just ruined her day. She, in turn, will most likely let her ruined day affect someone else. It’s called the ripple effect.

Author and success coach Jack Canfield says that one of his requirements for his staff is that they must avoid negative comments and words while at the office. Mr. Canfield knows that we cannot achieve success if we’re not speaking positively and for the greater good of all involved.

There are four avenues of communication I’d like to share with you today. My intention is, at the very least, that they provide some food for thought.

Social Networking
I suppose the posts I read each day through the likes of Facebook and Twitter got me thinking about the way in which we communicate. I know far too much about people – some of whom I’ve never met. I encourage you, Gentle Reader, to carefully consider everything you post. When you speak ill of someone, it reflects poorly on YOU. I know we must vent from time to time, but the Internet is not the place to do it (unless, of course, you start your own blog like I have ;) Keep it light, breezy, entertaining, and informative. Thank you.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I tend toward sarcasm on a regular basis, but it is always in jest and only with those who truly know I’m acting silly. There exists a fine art to sarcasm; one must practice it, hone it, and only use it with those who know you well.

I’ll admit it: I swear. Not regularly. As with sarcasm, I only do it –on occasion – to get a laugh out of my loved ones. I know my audience – that’s a big one. Words acceptable to my sister may not be appropriate to use in front of my mother. Words acceptable to my mother may not be appropriate to use in front of my grandmother. Timing is everything, too – letting an expletive fly after stumping one’s toe, or following a mascara wand mishap are understandable. Peppering one’s daily language with dirty words is not. To me, those dependent on foul language in order to make a point or to tell a story, come across as uneducated and ignorant.

Oh, and don’t get me started on children who swear. It’s not cute and shouldn’t be encouraged.

I’m a former English teacher, so humor me, please. Much of the general adult population needs to go back and review what we learned in middle school. As with swearing, grammatically incorrect conversation benefits no one. If you feel as if you need a quick review, pick up a copy of Clinton Kelly’s How to Be Freakin’ Fabulous (ironic he includes grammar lessons in a book with the word ‘freakin’ in the title, but it’s his book and he can call it whatever he likes). He’s got fun examples on proper parts of speech and correct usage. You can click the Elegant Reading tab here on my blog to order a copy.

I encourage you, Sweeties, to take care when communicating. Represent yourselves well. Insure that what you say serves as a blessing to others…and to yourselves.

PS…If you’ve enjoyed today’s little musing, I’d like to tell you about the Elegant fund I’ve established. Proceeds benefit a wonderful organization called Girls, Inc. To get the scoop, visit

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

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