Kind or cruel, words affect us. Hearing angry words can cause each of us to be less civil. Derogatory, disparaging, belittling and/or manipulative language, even if TRUE but especially when FALSE, can damage someone forever. We call statements like these: Evil Speech.
These guidelines can help each of us start to repair our world.
1. Be aware! If, during a conversation, someone’s skin becomes flushed or pale, you may have hurt them.
2. Speak positively. Don’t assume you know the reason why someone said what they did. All you really know is that they did or said something. You don’t know why until you ask. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt.
3. Jokes are funny, except for the person who is the butt of it or has had the same experience.
4. Your words have the power to hurt 3 people: you, the person you are talking to and the person you’re talking about. Speaking badly about someone, even if you include yourself, still hurts.
5. Evil Speech includes your tone of voice, your facial expressions, and your body language, as well as the words, you speak, write, tweet, sign, etc.
6. Speaking badly about a group or a community hurts many people.
7. Don’t repeat Evil Speech to ANYONE.
8. Don’t listen to Evil Speech. Even if it is public knowledge, it is still wrong.
9. Telling someone what you’ve been told about them may simply make things worse, and put you in the middle where you become the bad guy.
10. SOMETIMES, Evil Speech is necessary. For example, using it to warn someone that they are about to make a BIG mistake, in an effort to save them from a bad relationship or a disastrous business deal. You may also use it to protect someone who is being hurt by the things that are being said to or about them.
If these guidelines help you, please pass them on and join us in repairing the world one word at a time.
For more information, email LHK@getbetteroutcomes.org
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