HARSH WORDS, THE BULLETS OF LIFE are penetrating and leave holes in the hearts of those who hear. The other day I wrote a piece of not using excuses and being real. I may have given the wrong idea of how I feel about communication. I have strong feelings about what I believe in and I don’t hesitate to express how I feel BUT, wait a minute, I don’t mean that every thought should came spitting out of our mouths either.
May I move this thought a little farther, and I don’t think she will mind me using something that was used in a post for a good example of this unintentional oversight of using a phrase or descriptive term without realizing how strong words are received and perceived. As she was describing how God desires us to be steadfast in our actions daily and not on and off, she compared this on and off not to be “bipolar nuts”. I know this lady and I think it was nothing but a way to describe an attitude and not poking fun at a very serious health condition. It happened that a dear person, close to me, had recently been diagnosed with the same condition. I admire this person to the highest level and know the heartbreak of living with bipolar and I felt the use of this term in a nonchalant manner was in poor taste. Without intention, a message that was profound and on point, turned into a sensitive, unnerving distraction.
I did not use this example to criticize anyone but at the same time, in our world today, I hear similar comparison and the ones I hear are intentional, not like the previous example so imagine if I thought this person meant it intentionally. How many times do we use descriptive harsh words about others, even people we do not know? Have you ever seen someone you haven’t seen in a while and you haphazardly say, “Boy, you have put on a lot of weight!” or “man, you have changed a lot since I saw you”? Let’s look at widely misused words that may do as much damage as a bullet to the heart.
Stop using “fat” in a way that shames others — or even yourself. Sure, fat is something we all have and need to survive. But being concerned about “looking fat” in a dress is a way to shame people who might not fit the conventional beauty standards of our society. It’s a way to verbally value thinner people over others.
Allies, feel free to reclaim fat as an empowering identity (here’s looking at you, #fatspo). But if you’re going to pull a Facebook and say you’re “feeling fat” today, refrain. Fat is not a feeling. Fat is not a put-down, nor is it shameful. Fat is a part of your body.
Carlton’s protesting against “the R word” today pic.twitter.com/F3i5oX2pAd
— Puddin’ (@Puddoug) April 25, 2015
We all really need to relinquish the R-word. To catch you up to speed, the term “mental retardation” is a stale, clinical term once used to label what we now call intellectual disabilities. Using the term to mean “stupid” devalues those with intellectual disabilities, which should make you question your word choice.
While adults are guilty of using the term to describe something annoying or unappealing, the word is especially a problem among youth. Stop using it and replace it with more colorful words. And don’t forget to politely correct the person, whether grown man or child, who still thinks this term is perfectly fine. It’s not.
Sure, this is an older term that doesn’t lurk in our language all too often, but it’s definitely not just a vocab issue for out-of-touch, elder generations. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch was rightfully criticized earlier this year for using the term “colored” while advocating for diversity in film during an interview. (No, the irony is not lost.)
The term Cumberbatch (and you) should be using is “people of color,” which is a widely accepted umbrella term that includes any non-white person.
“Colored” is outdated. Let’s reframe.
When you have your desk all nice and tidy, you might be tempted to proclaim yourself “soOCD.” But obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness that means so much more than a knack for organization. It means having a lack of control over certain thoughts or activities, so much so that they inhibit daily life.
Though you may think you’re just describing your affinity for Windex, there’s a whole population of people who don’t appreciate you trivializing a major daily obstacle. Try using “particular,” “clean” or “organized” instead.
If you’re using the term “crazy” countless times a day, you’re probably in the norm. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK. Terms like “crazy” — or “insane,” for that matter — make light of mental illness in a way no ally wants to support.
Your boss isn’t “crazy” for her serious, intense demeanor; she’s stern. Your friend isn’t “crazy” for dating her ex; she’s a little misguided. Your cashier wasn’t “crazy” for putting your bread and laundry detergent together in the same bag; he just sucks at bagging.
Other words are always going to be available, not to mention more inclusive. Use them.
(Some Excerpts from12 words you need to ban from your vocabulary)
You can read the entire list by clicking on the link above, but this was to get us started thinking about words, and these are not the worst ones that are thrown around like water and it will be wise to stop and think before using these. I want to think I am a kinder person but I realized years ago, people pay more attention when I use constructive, positive verbiage to get a point across. I can be blunt as that is my nature but I don’t have to be mean, right?
I thought I would dive in to a side line and on this portion of the post, I am guilty, literally. I find it amazing and awesome that basically I use these words really a lot.
- literally: Originally meant “in a literal or strict sense,” but is used as a more general intensifier for things that are not strictly true. Because of this, “in a figurative sense,” the exact opposite of the original meaning, has now been added to the dictionary as a definition for literally.
- unique: Originally meant “unlike anything else,” but is used to mean “different, to some degree, from the standard or the norm.”
- awesome: Originally meant “causing feelings of fear or wonder,” but is used as a general, positive descriptor like “great” or “cool.”
- amazing: Originally meant “causing overwhelming surprise or astonishment,” but is used as a general, positive descriptor like “great” or “cool.”
- totally: Originally meant “completely, in every part,” but is now used as a general intensifier, much like “really.”
- basically: Originally meant “essentially” or “fundamentally,” but is now used as general verbal filler.
- incredible: Originally meant “impossible to believe,” but is now used as a general, positive descriptor like “great” or “cool.”
- really: Originally meant “actually true,” but is now used frequently as a general intensifier.
- very: Meaning “to a high degree,” we all just need to stop using it in every other sentence.
- honestly: Originally meant “in an honest and genuine manner,” but is now often used as general verbal filler.
- absolutely: Originally meant “in a complete and total manner,” but is now used as a general intensifier.
- unbelievable: Originally meant “impossible to believe,” but is now used as a general, positive descriptor.