It has been said that the sharpest and most powerful muscle a human possesses is the tongue. Chances are we’ve all been victims and users of a sharp tongue, and it is never pleasant. So, how can you keep from hurting others knowing how deeply a simple word can cut? Think before you speak.
Step 1: Stop and think about who you are being. Before you communicate you should get clear about what you want the other person to hear.
Step 2: Don't assume anybody or anything. Assumptions are the biggest roadblocks to clear and complete communication.
Step 3: Be present to the person you are communicating with. Make sure they really get what you are saying and make sure that you listen, as well. Remember: Communication is a two-way street!
Step 4: If you do speak something intentionally out of anger, say you’re sorry. Often the things we say in the heat of the moment, when we aren’t present to who we’re being, are hurtful, and when those moments happen, say you’re sorry. Ask the person you hurt to forgive you and forgive yourself, as well!
Lastly, always remember the story of the stranded frogs, and it's lesson on the importance that you think before you speak.
"A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. You see this frog was deaf, unable to hear the others plea. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time."
This story teaches two lessons. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them. Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path. The power of words ... an encouraging word or even a simple smile can go a very long way. So, from this day forward, be mindful of the power of your words and think before you speak.