Sound: waves of pressure through a medium. Our vocal cords vibrate air in our throats, shaping it past our tongues and lips to have a specific meaning. And so, vibrations received at 343 metres per second get mentally processed and understood.
And yet, no matter how miraculous the speed of that data processing might seem, we waste so much of it with nonsense and things that should not be said. We say things that are trivial, boastful, and hurtful. The truly nasty among us use the flowing sound to manipulate, defraud, and destroy others.
Luckily, a great number of more self-aware people measure their words carefully because they are cognizant of their power. They offer a heartfelt compliment, speak a loving word to acknowledge the importance of others in our lives, and help others see themselves in positive ways.
People who are tangled up in their own pain often think of nothing other than how things affect them. The wounded seek to control and manipulate others in order to fool themselves into feeling powerful. These tendencies are a reaction to having felt very helpless at some time early in our lives. Oddly enough, many others who were faced with similar circumstances became loving, thoughtful, and kind people. They acknowledge that the strength they developed as a result of hardship is a gift they are continually grateful for. And, they are mindful to share the blessings in their lives.
Just as misery loves company, happiness seeks to share the joy. The unhappy person will look for fault in others, envy success, and kick people when they’re down. The miser will try to control and manipulate others in order to bolster their missing pride. The happy person will lift others up with kind words and deeds. Hearts and minds that are at peace will share the good feelings with others and raise others up. They will be sparse with their words so that they might give others a chance to express themselves with the intent of learning from them. They will put others first when that is what’s fair.
The rush of air that passes past our lips through the atmosphere to the tiny hairs in the recipient’s ear has the potential to have great meaning. It can make a person’s day or it can ruin a person’s life. It can give someone a headache or it can inspire another to strive towards success. There are people who use their every breath to build themselves up, to belittle others, and to bolster their own fragile egos. Luckily, there are more people who practice mindful kindness and thoughtfulness. Knowing how easy it is to hurt others, they treat others how they would themselves like to be treated.
Wow, thats a lot of work for sound waves! I’m thinking the waves from my mouth need a “time out.” I’m just going to breathe in and out silently for as long as I can still my mind.
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.