While some may think fists are brute and weapons and knives sting like a snake’s bite, there will never be any force more dire than the power of words. I’ll avoid the clichés as much as possible (and I will probably fail), but if there is anything I want you to remember, hear this:
You are not your audience.
Allow me to romanticize the feeling of accolades. It doesn’t matter who you are, you know what I’m about to say and you cannot deny it – whether “it doesn’t matter” or not. I speak first hand when I say positive recognition is a make-or-break more often than not. The ecstasy of a “great job” when you present in front of your peers, or an “I love your work” when you’ve done your first commission, and even the very little, underappreciated “thank you” after you received your change from the cashier. There’s a certain indescribable satisfaction that follows. Everyone knows the feeling. The ones who receive the applause and the “great work”, of course they know it. But those who never hear it, even when they’ve put in the bare minimum – they know the feeling the best. Because to them, it’s the Jenga block removed from the middle, it’s the apple at the bottle of the neat shelf; it leaves you feeling invisible, unrecognized, and like you’ve aimlessly sown your seed.
To the deliverer, it’s just empty words meant for closure to an agreement; a “thank you” is no more than a substitute for money where payment is due. A “great job” can be replaced by a smile, nod, and handshake. An “until next time” is just a little more comfortable and less off-putting than outwardly telling them that you appreciate them enough to do further business. And as a sociophobe, I won’t front: I understand… 99%. But the penny wants to know – from both me and you – why must it be difficult to give recognition where due? When I typed my first ‘w’, I was thinking of a more cliché route for this topic. But somehow, I’m led to wonder if some people ever think about this:
Lack-olades hurt too.
Of course, calling someone out of their name is rude. Bullying is intolerable. Outright disrespect of any kind is the worst. Telling someone they are anything less than full of potential can do damage. But allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment. Consider that kind words are like cushions; imagine each kind word is a pillow before the fall. Imagine how much better it’d feel to fall knowing you have mountains of mattresses beneath you. Mountains of nothing but “good job on that math test”; pillows stuffed with “I like the doodles on your homework”; cushions from endless “thank you’s”. Now imagine how the next person feels who may not have anything more than a balled-up blanket from a quiet “see you next week”. Yes, insults burn – believe me, I know. But that burn increases exponentially in times where those lovely cushions may not be there. Absent praises hurt a little different than condemnation.
If you think about it, telling the school bully not to do what they do is a considerably easy job in comparison to asking someone to breathe a word of kindness over someone’s life. They haven’t done anything wrong, they haven’t crossed someone or stolen anything, and these are valid arguments. But you never know who’s listening when you’re not the listener. It never hurt to breathe a kind word; it could actually save a live.
Written by killercatziller™