I remember my mum telling me once not to have a ‘poisoned tongue’. I was probably about 15 at the time and a bit of a tinker – I probably paid no attention as I was a teenager and she was my Mum – but I obviously did listen because this has stuck with me.
Tongues can be horribly poisonous.
Words which drip off the end full of nothing nice can crawl in and start to slowly infect and corrupt the deepest part of who you are. I suspect we can all remember a word which has cut deep and left a festering wound months, years or even decades on. A glib throw away comment, a harsh response, an idle word of gossip, a deliberate white lie to undermine. Yuk.
And yet I know I’m guilty of doing this myself. I know I have said horrible underhand things, I’ve thrown out opinions and statements willy-nilly – many of which I have later go on to retract. But how much poison have I laced people’s souls with in the process. I shudder to think.
I know when I am hurting my weakness to do this grows. They say hurt people hurt people. How very true for me.
Yet again I am in the position where I have noticed something in me (and maybe in others too) that I now can’t un-notice. I see this poison epidemic growing – I see it more in women which saddens me even more, I see it being done to me. I see myself doing it to others more often than I would like to admit.
Just yesterday I heard that someone is quite vocal in their issues with me. I kind of knew we weren’t best buddies but I guess hearing this from someone I trust brought it home. The words they had said, the things they have whispered about me behind my back – always behind my back – well, they hurt. It hurt that much of it wasn’t true but it hurt most that when I see this person I am fed syrupy sweetness to my face but now I see that those kind flattering words were laced with the poison of the tongue which had spoken something very different when I wasn’t there.
At first I was cross and my reaction was to ‘have it out’ – I’m a bolshy Northerner – that’s my style! But then I thought how many times I have done the same thing – lacked the courage to take my issues straight to the person involved t deal with and instead let them creep around in the dark. I realised she is not wrong and me right – we are both crappy gossipy types who need to grow a pair and deal with whatever issues we have. I hope she can one day sit down with me over a cup of tea and explain why she was hurt by me enough to let this stuff crawl around her heart, but I don’t know if that will ever be the case. I hope we could apologise and explain and realise we were probably never enemies but rather looking at a sixpence from two different sides.
I have no control over how she processes this, but the reminder for me is that I do have control over how I choose to use my tongue. I have the option to poison or elevate. The choice is simply mine.