There’s that old adage, “actions speak louder than words”, I’ve not been able to get off my mind lately. Not because of the immense pride I have backing the policy shifters and change-makers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Glennon Doyle Melton — awesome revolutionaries whose loud actions make me proud to be a progressive woman in these toxic times.
No, I keep coming back to the adage because words can often outweigh actions. Loudly. With obscene resonance. Words matter, and when we just pull the pin and toss them at each other like hand grenades — hearts get broken. Friendships come under scrutiny. Or end altogether.
The reason I find this words/actions idea hard to ignore right now, is because of the blows I took recently with the shock and sting of words. By a friend, without reason or warning, to no explicable end, for the second or third time. With relative consistency.
It’s funny sometimes too, how our bodies react physically to hurt like that. Recoiling backward, that acidic taste in our throat, maybe a tightening across the upper chest. And how recalling those moments, in slow-mo replay can make all those visceral feelings come right back. Sometimes on a walk or in meditation. In the middle of the night, when our minds short circuit and the worries come.
It’s been a long time since I’ve gone through something like this, and it’s really gotten me thinking about the power of our words. How they can be a balm or a spire, depending. And how an apology doesn’t always soften their impact. They’ve been said. They’re energies are out there; on us like a sticky coating, hard to remove.
Even after a long, cleansing soak of time.
Let’s be intentional with our words, shall we? Deliberate. Expressive. We can move mountains and mobilize for good. Praise and love and inspire. But we can also divide and alienate, inflict self doubt or scar our loved ones.
I’ll choose moving mountains over scars any day.