Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The beauty of words

Let’s face it; on several occasions in life, we have been hurt by irresponsible words, deliberate insults and barbs, and gossip. The tongue can either build or destroy and so thus words.
But today, we will focus on the beauty of words.

“Please” and “Thank you“. Magic words indeed. We take for granted the impact and effect of these words on sales ladies; gasoline boys and girls; security guards; street vendors; newspaper boys; gardeners; lavanderas; even on our own kids and spouses.

If you have reduced the usage of these words through the years, there is no harm in revisiting and reusing them. Time and again, let us be reminded not to turn callous, jaded, discourteous, ill-bred and disrespectful. Whatever age we may be right now, let us not forget to practice the magic words.

“I’m sorry.” Boy that really counts. Sometimes, it takes three years for a person to apologize. But when he does, it does count. Perhaps we don’t need three years to apologize. These words, like Pastor Jake says, connect. They are like bridges; they connect the broken; repair the damage. Some damage might be beyond words but “I’m sorry” is the first route to forgiveness, healing and recovery.

“I love you.” Do I need to explain that? In itself, “I love you” says it all. It is beyond the physical. It involves the emotions, mind, soul and spirit. Love is a decision.

On occasions when deep hurts have been caused; repair and restoration works naturally follow “I love you”. It will take time for some; a shorter time for others. Patience is the key.

“I’m praying for you” is the best assurance and reassurance that a person cares about you. Imagine the time he or she spends to pray for you and your life situation, or whatever you are going through in life momentarily. It is comforting to know that somebody is praying for us. It makes us strong and able to move forward and press on.

I am sure there are other beautiful words that impress you. You can add to the list. The most important thing is you practice it every single day of your life.

While at words, I watched with amusement the showdown a.k.a. confrontation between Congresswoman Mitos Magsaysay and Secretary Ricky Carandang on television last week. Congresswoman Magsaysay really went ballistic on Secretary Carandang. Carandang was left defending himself only to be berated again and again. I wonder how that felt. Just imagine the communication process. Mr. Carandang used to be a media person and as such, he was adept at asking intimidating questions, and even bullying public officials, to a certain extent. Well, during that forum, he was the one bullied and intimidated, and by a woman, no less. The situation indeed was reversed. It was incongruous.

The most amusing part was when he apologized in the end, and everybody laughed. You should have seen it. It was ironic. Here she was bullying him; here he was defending himself and trying his best to keep his calm and demeanour. Of course he had to bite back like when he said, “Was that a rhetorical question or do you want me to answer that?” She wisely cracked, “Don’t be arrogant! I’m warning you!” “You’re not in ABS-CBN (anymore). If before you had the temerity to insult elected members of the House when you were in ABS-CBN, sad to say you are on the other side of the shoe right now (sic) and you’re the one being questioned by legislators. If you’re going to be arrogant, don’t be in public service.”

Well, the abrupt ending came when Mr. Carandang said: “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings”. And that ended it all. Or does it? Congresswoman Magsaysay said, “You don’t have to be showbiz about it.”
But indeed it was showbiz. I can’t help but think that it was brilliant on the part of the Secretary to be bullied first and embarrassed before apologizing. But maybe, he was actually bullied and embarrassed and in order to save face, he decided to cut it short by apologizing. Hmmm. The nuances of communication.

The power relations were quite obvious. Congresswoman Magsaysay was holding the power right from the start. She maximized it to the hilt. It was her turf; her territory. Whether Mr. Carandang apologized because it was the most gentlemanly thing to do or he just wants the verbal tirade over and done with, we will never know. But the reality remains that after he uttered, “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings”, the tension in the room eased.

So it’s true, “I’m sorry” is a connector. It bridges. Where during the debate, the two actors were totally on different sides of the fence and were on defensive modes (if not offensive), after that line has been spoken, the walls suddenly crumbled; the tension eased and diminished; and there were guffaws and teasing heard.

Oh well, it could have been politics and showbiz combined, but you can’t fail to see the power of the words.

Food for thought: Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. >Benjamin Franklin

No comments:

Post a Comment