Oddly enough, this really hit home as my wife and I were watching Birdman—a movie we both loved. But there was a scene in there when Michael Keaton’s character, Riggan, was baring his soul about why he was doing what he was doing, and Edward Norton’s character, Mike, basically tells him his reason was based on a lie. Riggan believes him. Questions his life (there was more than one scene like this, but this one in particular really drove my point home to me), really hit me.
The words we say…write…have incalculable power. They can destroy relationships and topple governments. They can also soothe and bring together. Yet we don’t seem to really respect the power of our words when we speak them. We say things we wish we could take back. We’re flippant and uncaring of those we hurt.
We claim we just say it “like it is.”
That we’re only “being honest.”
But is that really the truth?
This can all be applied to both the spoken and written word: what if it’s not so much “honesty” we’re being…as lazy? What if…we’re just not putting in the time and effort to be more observant of the distant end of our conversations? We’re not putting in the effort to tailor our vocal or written expositions to be more considerate of the situation or persons with which we are interacting?
As writers, we like to think that we’re considering each and every word we put down. We like to think we ask the tough questions, explore the uneasy avenues. But when we write or voice brutal, even nasty reviews or opinions about someone or something…are we really putting in the needed effort? What’s the real point in tearing down another’s work, even if it is in the public domain? To prove you’re better? That another sucks? Why? Why does it really matter? In writing that book review, what’s the real reason you’re being ruthless about your opinion of a weak plot, lame characters, or poor writing? To show your mastery and command of your native language?
Why must there be so much accusatory finger-pointing and negativity?
Show your mastery of your native language by avoiding “the nasty” and discussing the item at hand by “taking the High Road.” Whatever that means.
When talking at parties, don’t be so ready to pick apart another’s work or talk behind another’s back. Spread gossip. In fact, do you really even have to talk about something you don’t like at all? Is there really so little you do like to talk about that you have to tear down other people’s efforts? Other people? Is there so little good in the world that you have to constantly visit the negative?
And I’m not just talking about writers.
Lately, I seem to be running into so many people who seem to have nothing good to say. I recently stood in a line and as I listened to the various conversations going on, I realized not one person had one good thing to say about anything. Don’t you see how this will color your outlook on life? How it will color your actions and thoughts? If all you talk about is the negative, how can you be positive?
How can you be a good person and how can you spread goodness and positive energy?
Everything in this world starts with you.
Your thoughts. Your actions.
And, as in Riggan’s case, if you know the real truth behind an action…an action that another used as a corner-stone upon which they created their life (in a good way)…why spoil it for others? Keep it to yourself. If it doesn’t hurt anyone, allow that person to live their life and exist as they choose to.
Words have power. Words contain energy.
Energy is Life.
Focus on only using, attracting, and putting out only good energy.
And if you’re gonna nail me and this post with propagating “Pollyanna nonsense,” you’re missing the very deep, very soulful and salient point. Please reconsider your thoughts and reread this post.