People do judge you by the words you speak. You may feel it to be unfair or biased, but there are some good reasons why people do. Read on to find out more.
The words you use are much more powerful than most people realize. Lasting impressions are often emblazoned in someone's mind more strongly by what we say than by what we do. This seems untrue, but in fact our words are used to judge and interpret our actions. People more readily remember our words than they do our actions.
We have all heard the phrase, 'People do what you do, not what you say.' There is truth to that, but not in the sense that we expect. Your actions determine if what you say is worth hearing or your words will define and explain an action. Let me explain:
Let us say that you round a corner of a building and witness one man punch another man in the face as hard as he can. If the attacker then glances at you, shrugs, and walks off, you are left with a feeling of confusion. Why did he punch the man? Was it justified? Was it merely brutality? What? You are not likely, in this case, to just walk up to the injured man and punch him too. Just because another did it, does not mean that you will. But if the man, after seeing you, points a finger at the man he just punched and says, "He just tried to steal my wallet!" Those words just put the action into perspective. You will leap to a judgment, most likely, of, "You did the right thing. I'd hit him too if he tried to take my wallet."
People judge your actions based on the words you used to define those actions.
In addition, people judge your intelligence, character, and personality by the words you choose to use. Their judgment may be inaccurate, but the impressions left by those judgments often persist long after evidence to the contrary has been presented.
People cannot read your mind. Ever say something in anger that you did not mean? Yet trying to convince someone that the words you used in anger are untrue is often an exercise in futility. Your words are the only means we have of knowing your mind.
If you use negative words, people will assume that you are a negative person. If you try to manipulate people with your words, you will be thought of in ways that may be unflattering to you. If you yell at, cuss at, use hateful words towards, deride, gossip about, cut down, or slander someone you have expressed your mind in ways that you may wish to retract one day but find it difficult to do so.
Someone once said to me, "Profanity is an attempt by a feeble mind to express itself forcibly." It is true that profanity, cussing, and swearing will impress no one. In fact, more often than not, they leave others with a negative impression of the one spouting profanity. Those words are unimaginative, usually said in anger, frustration, or just out of plain cussedness. The pun was intended. People often believe, even subconsciously, that a small mind must resort to foul language.
Your intelligence is often judged by the words you use. Incorrect usage or simplistic word choice, or even a profound struggle to express yourself is often perceived by others to be a result of a lack of intelligence. This judgment may be superficial at best, nevertheless, it still happens.
I have a friend of mine that often distracts me in a conversation by his incorrect use of the word 'seen'. He would say, "I seen him go into the store." Or "I seen a car accident yesterday." For him it is a habit. Probably someone close to him talked like that for years and he picked it up. But it throws me every time he does it. Without even realizing it, he sounds 'hillbilly-ish'. The problem is that this incorrect usage distracts others from the message he is trying to relay.
The larger the vocabulary you possess, the greater you ability to express your thoughts and ideas. The greater your skill at expressing yourself, the more intelligent and wise you will appear to those around you. Your words are important. Thoughtful words are important.
The Bible expresses this so aptly:
Proverbs 25:11 - A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Chose your words carefully, you will be judged by those words.
Again, the Bible says it all:
Matthew 12:36 - But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships.
For more books and resources on how to communicate better, express yourself, and strengthen social skills. Check out our book, 'Fitly Spoken', a Christian based book that explores the intricacies of human communication and expression in relationships.