Once spoken, words cannot be unspoken.


take care with your words copy

It is easy to forget the power of words. We hear. We feel. We hurt. We react.

And in between the hearing and our reaction, there are but milliseconds to make a choice. To strike out from our hurting feelings, or make room for our feelings to be heard in a way that creates possibility for deep listening between us and another.

How often have you responded to hurtful words with something like, “You make me so angry.”

In the ‘you make me’, we give away our power. We are holding someone else accountable for our feelings and responses.

What if, instead of giving the other person the power of ‘making’ your feelings, you took a breath and replied, “When I heard you say [that] I felt diminished, invisible, unheard…” Or, “I want to talk about [that] but I can’t hear you when you (yell) (speak with such a harsh, criticising tone) (call me names)… Is there a way you can say what you want to say so that I can hear you? ”

If in that moment it is not possible to speak respectfully, take a break. Walk away and agree to come back at a later time when you are both calmer.

It is never okay for someone to call you names, yell or berate you.

It’s not okay for you to do it to them either.

Creating space for each person to be accountable for their words, and how they speak them, opens up the possibility of communicating at deeper, more respectful and constructive levels.

Our words have the power to pierce like a sunbeam in the dark, illuminating the heart of what is keeping us apart with their power to reveal our truth. When we use our words to stab like a knife, we are cutting away the heart of what brings us together. In the pain of each cut, we grow further and further away from the heart of what is true.

And the first step is to take care with our words. Once spoken, they cannot be unspoken.



11 thoughts on “Once spoken, words cannot be unspoken.”

  1. OK, you are right – just get everybody to agree with you. But that isn’t so easy, is it? Peaches bruise easily, apples have a tougher skin. Now, watermelon … that’s serious skin. We need to be more like the watermelon, less like the peach. People will always fall into one of three groups – those who praise us, those who criticize us and those who don’t care. Most, don’t care. If we hear critics, we can chose to listen and think about their criticism. Some we can take to heart, most we should ignore – remembering that most people don’t know or care. If you like who you are believe what you say, criticism won’t pierce you deeply or often – so, in conclusion, be a watermelon.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Mark — here is what I was curious about — I absolutely agree that my responsibility is to be happy with who I am — and that other people’s opinion of me are not my issue. My opinion of me is. But, underlying what you wrote, I wonder if there is a belief that ‘disagreement equals rejection’. That if someone disagrees with me, then I need to walk away? Not sure that’s what is underlying your comment, but I am curious…


      2. no … more a ‘if someone disagrees with me – I have more than 3 options: discuss/consider/change my mind, walk away/ignore, dismiss —- or any other response at all. I think we let critique, or our anticipation of critique, impact our behaviour too often. Not that we should be reckless with our words or actions, just that we should be free …


  2. Ah! Lovely wonderful words, Louise. They have such power…good, clean, beautiful power such as those that accompany your super art ;)…and as in life with all opposites providing the possibility of balance…those words that can truly cut like a knife!!
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful art & heart ♡♡

    Liked by 1 person

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