You saved my life. Remember?

in health •  19 days ago

"Your words saved my life." she said as tears welled in her eyes. "I have been in a very bad place for a long time and had made a decision. I am not proud, I have kids I know. I feel ashamed at myself but I have to tell you. After we spoke, I went away and thought about it and something shifted, I don't know but, I had changed somehow. I was stronger, I was strong enough."

Have you ever had a conversation with someone that changed you? The kind of conversation that shines a light on something that creates an aha moment, an epiphany? Have you ever spent an evening with someone that affected you so deeply that you will forever carry it with you, like every detail is seared into your memory, your soul? A bond you will always have between you.


Now, do you think the other person feels the same depth of connection, is the bond shared? We would like to think so wouldn't we, but I don't think it is true. It is like unrequited love, more important for one than the other. Not always, but sometimes.

How would it feel to think that one has such a deep connection with another only to find that the concversation has gone unremembered or worse, what if they do not remember you at all?

The woman in the first paragraph who felt her life had been saved by words, those words were mine. She was a student over a decade ago. I don't even remember her name now. The tears in her eyes and even her posture, but no name. If in that moment she had quizzed me about what we had spoken, I would have drawn a complete blank. If I saw her down the street today, I am just as likely to smile politely and move past a stranger as recognize her.

Do you think she would recognise me? Does this take away from the conversation? Am I a bad person for having not remembered. Should I feel guilty for having such an impact on someone's life and having no idea?

In this case it was a good impact, at least if you see life as something worth saving. What about the other times I have spoken and not known the impact on someone in the negative? Has it cost a life? I do not know. I am guessing those I hurt will rarely come forward to tell me, they will despise me from afar.

The thing I find interesting is that I did not save her life with my words. She saved her life with my words. This is not a simple reframing, it is the truth. No one can be hurt or helped with words, but someone can use those words to harm or help themselves.

Words are not a hand to pull one back from the edge of a cliff or a hand to push one over, but a mind can use them as such. A mind can make those patterned sounds very, very practical and real indeed.

This concept that words cut deep should be torn from any curriculum. It does too much harm. It takes the real agent, the individual, out of the equation and lays blame on an external other. This woman laid the blame of saving her life on me yet, I did nothing of the sort.

For her, she had to tell me. She had to let me know that it was me that saved her. She said I had a right to know. Know what? I was me, doing what I do, probably selfishly so. There was no intention to help her, no intention to harm her either. It was just a conversation like the thousands before it and the thousands that came after.

Should I be proud for accidentally saying words that led to her saving her own life? She did the work, she found meaning and used it to change her outcomes. She should be proud of herself for having the courage to rethink on new information after she had already made a decision.

She never needed me to say those words. She had the words within her all along, she just did not use them earlier. When she heard the words come out of my mouth, she translated them into her inner voice, turned them over, thought deeply, developed them further, made them her own. She made the words hers and inspired herself to move in another direction.

It is even possible she got the translation wrong, after all, this was in an English lesson. Does this mean that the conversation is of any less value? I think not. A mistaken understanding can save a life just as well as a successful translation can cost one.

This is the value of communication, conversation, collaboration. It is not to learn from others what they know, it is to teach yourself what you can learn from their words. Too often we remove our agency and attempt to learn from others what is right. But what we find within the folds of a conversation can add value that was never meant to be there and much more than was ever intended.

And they do not need to be motivational, inspirational or beautiful words. We can listen to the most amazing words and learn nothing if we do not internalize them, and we can be influenced by mediocrity if we do. The words that make our heads spin and churn as they get turned over and over in our mind are often the ones that give us the value. The ones that can save a life. Often, these are also the ones that are the hardest to hear. The ones that lead to personal truths.

But we are told to avoid negative people, avoid conflict, find those of a like mind to our own. Avoid rocking the boat less it capsize, stay out of the open water in case we lose sight of the land, which is familiar and solid in our thoughts. Surround ourselves with those that think like us, act and talk like us. Our own kind.

What if I am depressed, angry, violent and full of hate? I think I know what kinds of groups form when these people come together. And if I am devious, manipulative and power hungry? They form other groups that are not so hard to imagine.

If we choose to take agency again, use the words of others to discover the truths within rather than to influence our external actions, we will be better off on the whole. No words can cause grievance, no term offend. We can listen to them all openly and accept them into the churning waters of the mind, where even the most vile and vulgar of ideas, can have their energy absorbed and repurposed. No need for psychological safe zones, for safety is in the deconstruction of violence, not the avoidance of it.

For some that may read this, they will think these words are somewhat harsh and I am naive to believe that words are not dangerous. I never said they were not. Words are weapons to those that believe them to be and if one understands how to use the weapon well, the manipulations possible are incredible and terrible.

For ones that use them as tools, the learning possible can be incredible and beautiful..

This is why I am having this conversation today. Do not let words slip into the mental waters for processing without opting to be critical at all levels. It is too easy to make the words of others our own and act accordingly as if the ideas are ours. It is too easy to accept the popular view or absorb the surface coat and miss the value beneath.

When I think of that woman what comes to mind is whether she would ever talk to her husband or her kids about what she went through internally. Would she worry it would hurt them, or give them poor ideas. Or would she trust them to take agency, investigate and see if the words have value for themselves?

Taraz
[ a Steem original ]

If these words helps or harm you, you did it. You really did.

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You're right that a person can choose how to use your words. A person can choose to be encouraged by them, be hurt by them, or be motivated to change something and do something different.

One of the reasons that I try to be more careful with my words (especially when I'm not just goofing off on Steemit) is that I don't want to inadvertently give someone the tools to harm themselves. Maybe it wouldn't be my fault because they were the ones who took my words the wrong way, but I still don't like the idea of people using my words for harm. I try to gauge the situation so I'm not oversharing with someone who isn't equipped to handle what I'm saying. I don't want to metaphorically give a kitchen knife to a child.

On the other hand, it's an encouragement for me to remember that lots of people will say lots of things about me, but it's what I say about me that will truly change the course my life. If I say I'm a loser, then that's what I'll be. If I say I'm a winner... well, I may still end up losing (because life happens) but my mental state will be that of a winner and I'll keep trying until I succeed. And then I'll succeed again and again. And I'll lose some more, but I'll keep going because I believe that in whatever challenge comes along, I can and will overcome. Whether that actually happens is inconsequential.

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I don't want to metaphorically give a kitchen knife to a child.

This is the problem with the increase in safe zones, there are more and more immature children who take offence t every word.

The way we see ourselves is important but it is also good to listen to what others say, I don't mean identify with it though. It is perspective building and gives a chance to adjust one's own views for the better. Sometimes, we are just blind to ourselves-.

Words have power to open the mind to new thought processes. A word can trigger a flood of thoughts that could lead to actions for good or for ill.

Is it the word that birthed the thoughts? No. The word acts as a key to a door to the place where those thoughts have lain submerged for a long time.

A man that has envy in his heart might not take action upon that feeling until a word triggers him to. That does not mean that the word brought about the envy.

In the same vein though, without the word, the man would have probably gone on envying without taking an action or better still he could have gotten another key that would have showed him how stupid is envious nature was.

I feel words are powerful and its power does not lie in how it is received but in the nonchalance with which most words are spoken. When you remember a word that hurt you, most times it is the manner in which the word was said that sticks to you. Was he condescending, mocking, derogatory, commending, surprised, happy?

Also the frame of mind of a person when a word is said to the person also comes to play and that is where we see the limitations of the power of a word. A person who is easily offended and is already angry will take almost any advice or comment as an attack and attack back. Nothing he or she heard would be nice enough.

I feel that at the end, we should be careful what we say as well as be watchful about how we receive words addressed to us.

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The path of creation is; thought, word, action. Before the first words were spoken, the first thoughts were thought and they were likely encouraged by actions. It is a continual process that keeps feeding itself or, eating its own tail.

Was he condescending, mocking, derogatory, commending, surprised, happy?

Yes, but, is the way it was said actually that way or was it us that applied meaning to that which may have had none?

I feel that at the end, we should be careful what we say as well as be watchful about how we receive words addressed to us.

Yep.

Hi Taraz. Yes it has happened before. A selfless meaningless act can change someone in ways you can't imagine. By doing something quite normal or just saying something that carries sound advice can change someones outlook. It is these types of things that mean so much and make a difference. Some of us make this difference and we don't even know it.
I am sure this lady will recognize you as you made an impact on her life. What you did may seem so mundane to you but to her they were huge.

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It is interesting how interconnected things are yet, how much is actually blind to us in what we ourselves do.

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We are oblivious to what impact we have on others around us good or bad.

I've actually had someone narrate a similar ordeal about how she was rescued from suicidal thoughts by a word ... It came from her pastor though. Words have power we sometimes aren't aware of, I have to learn to be a lot more careful the way I use en

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I think use them freely and openly and keep listening and speaking until any misunderstandings or offence are removed. This takes compassion and charity on all sides though, something humanity seems to lack a great deal of.

The power of the word is very strong, capable of completely changing a person. Generally, when they are relevant or close people in our life, the curious thing about this is that they can be simple phrases or without any objective in themselves and the other person "digest" them in a special way.

Therefore, we must take good care of our language and always measure the things we say, since they can be taken in a good way or, on the contrary, in the way we least wish. Imagine how strong the possibility of being, that can damage a person, especially if your mood is unbalanced at that time.

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Is it the responsibility of the speaker or the audience as to how they take the words? Some of course go out of their way to offend but even then, the reaction is still up to the audience. There are consequences to all we do though.

words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. we can chose to use this force destructively for the words of encouragement, destruction .I mean words have energy and power to heal,from whatever trouble some one is going through.Words satisfy the soul as food satisfy the stomach and the right words on a person lips brings satisfaction. so @tarazkp you will still get to meet more and more people just like the woman you were referring to in the above post because your words lightens the spirit and heal a broken heart. too.

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It is she that dd the work, the words were just words and all of them are available in any dictionary. This is what I find interesting, we can heal ourselves yet, we credit others.

Lovely write up. I will always say we all should be careful with the words we do say to people because it can go a long way to make or mar them. You didn't knew she took your words seriously is something we should learn from and realise how powerful words can be, like you said the wrong words she couldn't have been able to use your words to heal herself. Words are powerful though some people often disregard them.

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Words are only as powerful as the energy we give them. Some people like to put a lot of weight into what has been said yet, not a lot of energy into their own actions.

This is really coming from your heart. Lots of appreciation.

Excellent story, I like very much how you play delicate topics of which not many people want to talk

Good writing of story, nice to read for help et other

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This post was interesting read, I have too much to comment on but since I always say too much on every point decided to speak on this:

  • You don't have to be proud for accidentally saving a life, especially if you didn't know before, but I think you should feel happy a bit.

  • In my philosophy, you should be grateful for people who made you change yourself, I consider them saving my life even if they didn't actually do it. To be the first one to give thanks, but never want to be thanked, that's my selfishness.

But you reminded me of myself, people always remember me for some reason, I struggle to remember their faces (I know I've seen you before give me a minute, or an hour... or two months?)

I don't know what happened to the old adage "sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me".
People hear a single word and they run to the nearest bomb shelter (safe space)

I have probably learned more from the negative then the positive.

We will never know the impact or what happens to the ripples we create when they reach the beach. It all depends on who we are individually. The type person we are, the source of the ripple.

I believe that words are the most powerful weapon a human possess.

A single word can hurt someone deeply but it can also save a life unconciously.
Our words are powered by our thinking and our thinking are divided into positive and negative thinking.

It is the fraction of percentage between positive and negative thinking that build up oir life as we are now. It can be :-

Positive : Negative
40% : 60%
50% : 50%
80% : 20%

But it can never be...

0% : 100% or vice versa.

I agree with you that it is the girl that save herself because no matter what other tell us, it is our own mind thinking that processing the words and we ourselves are the one will be making decission into what our life will become.

Great writting @tarazkp.

It is a bit long for me to read especially with the plain formatting you have but your words and the way you present the content of your writting manage to make me finish reading your story. Thank you so much for this great writting.

Hope to give you more of a small amount of upvote but my SP is still very low