I had a conversation the other night with a co-worker. I experienced our conversation as innocuous at the beginning, but soon realized that what my co-worker was doing was "fishing" for information. I wanted deeply to trust my co-worker, even though she is known for not being honest or trustworthy. I wanted somehow to have some evidence around whether I can be open with her. That was my first mistake; looking for evidence to confirm or disconfirm my beliefs. She asked me for an opinion and I gave my opinion. The opinion was about a third person. I knew in my heart that as soon as I rendered the opinion in language, that my words would reach the ears of the third person. That was my second mistake; making a seemingly harmless 4 word statement about another person that had as much energy in it as a nuclear explosion, especially as that energy was transmitted from person to person picking up speed and power. My four little words wounded a precious, fragile soul and I bear that responsibility fully and completely. Oh, my belief about my non-trustworthy co-worker was confirmed, but at such a cost; to my co-worker, to the third person and to me.
The cost to my co-worker is a view that she can only be as she is. I made a conscious judgment about her and allowed her no choice to behave in any other way than the way I judged her. My belief was confirmed based on the absence of any other alternatives. I believed that she was a victim, disingenuous, and insecure and she showed up that way. The cost to the third person was a deep wound in her heart and long, agonizing hours of painful internal dialogue. The cost to me is also a deep wound in my heart; a wound inflicted as a result of an indiscriminate conversation rooted in a belief that does not serve me, my two co-workers and the greater universe of which we are all apart. I believed I was right in my judgment. A truth, yes. But another, more powerful truth, is that I can choose a different belief about which to be right; one that serves, rather than wounds.
Language has real power and we all use that power indiscriminately. Language is tied intimately to our core belief systems. What we believe, we feel; what we feel is processed to our thoughts as we seek to interpret the meaning; what we think we convert to language or manifest the thought in some action or behavior, either consciously or unconsciously. We have choice around our language and behaviors, but the most important choice is the one around our beliefs. If our beliefs are aligned with who we really choose to be, our language and our behaviors will be congruent.
What would the universe be like had I chosen four different words, equally powerful, but in true service to my co-workers? I can not change that moment, so I can not divine how our little world might be different. I can, however, examine my beliefs and shift them in this moment, so the next four little words have the power to nourish, nurture and serve, rather than wound and destroy.
my best to all