How Is Your Filter? Words Have Power
The news, media and social media are buzzing with protests and criticism over the changing of the presidential guard. Much of the criticism is in the lack of filter, shall we say, of our new President, Donald J. Trump. My hope is that his filter-less words and seeming lack of tact or consideration of the impact of his words do not necessarily align with his heart or intentions. I know that I am guilty of speaking reactively, sometimes before careful thought. My words do not always come out as I intended and my message or words can sometimes seem harsh or offend. Anyone who knows me, however, knows my intentions are good and pure and I would never knowingly or intentionally offend or harm anyone. I just need to step back, take a pause and let my filter kick in… especially in times when my buttons get pushed or I disagree with, or feel passionate about what is being said.
I am constantly saying to my kids that words have power- power to lift up and encourage and power to knock down and harm. This applies to words we say to others, but also words we say to our-self. Sometimes the words we say to our self can do more damage that those said to us by others. I have a small jar in my kitchen labeled “WORDS HAVE A PRICE”. It contains some change. One of my son’s is very fiery and reactive as well as self-deprecating. As a way of bringing awareness to the price and power of his words, I make him put change in a jar when he says unkind or harsh words to his brothers, parents or himself. On the flip side, when he is kind, compliments or acknowledges positive attributes about self, he gets to take money out of the jar. It is an attempt to bring awareness to the power and price of words. His filter, (like his mom’s), doesn’t always work, so he needs to be a bit more mindful of what comes out of his mouth. This is true for me, for President Trump, and many of us who speak harshly or reactively without much thought. What we need is to STOP, SLOW DOWN and let our filters kick in so we can respond and not react and even sift through words or information to find truth and intention.
Here is my STOP tactic for more proactive, positive and productive speech and conversation. I hope America is listening…
S= Stop, take a breath and think about what you want to convey.
T= Think about how the person you are speaking to will receive your
words. Will they listen? Will they be offended? Is there a purpose?
O= Observe the situation. Do you know the person speaking or who you
are speaking to? Is your intention or their intention clear? Will your
words be heard, provide insight or inflame? Are you being reactive
or are you responding rationally?
P= Power of Positivity, Perspective and Persuasion. If you choose words
carefully, have tact and purpose in your words, they can be very
positively received and positively powerful. Conversely, when we
react and speak without thought, our words are not as well
received, heard and can have a negative impact.
Words can be powerful weapons to harm and ignite, or powerful tools to invoke change. They can build up or knock down. This is why we all need to take deep breaths, be clear about our intentions and own our words and the impact they may have on others. We need to strengthen our filters, step back and ripple kindness, respect and peace beginning with self. Will we speak without filter at times? Probably, but when we own it, be accountable for our words, clear about intention and apologetic when we offend, this is a step in the right direction.