Choosing Our Words Wisely

Choosing Our Words Wisely

The power and importance of speech

Words are important.

They not only communicate what we are trying to say, they can also communicate things that we are not trying to say. Word choice can be incredibly tricky, especially when surrounded by people that we don't know so well.

This week, I was in a meeting with a group I'm involved in on campus. We were talking about sexual assault. Not exactly an easy topic to discuss. During this discussion, one of my friends brought up the idea of taking precautions. Not walking alone in the wee hours of the night, not going to private places with people you don't know. All of these things are good and important. Then, he said this:

"because I would never put myself in that situation."

I wanted to leap across the table. Then, I put on my rational pants, took a breath, and thought about the situation. I know this guy. We are friends. I know that what he just said is not exactly what he meant. He would never say that someone who ended up in that situation was at fault. He would never say that someone who was drinking heavily and got raped had "put themselves in that situation."

So, instead of ripping his head off or yelling at him, I calmly - and as lovingly as possible - said that maybe those weren't the best words to use. I pointed out to him that saying that sounds like victim blaming. He immediately apologized and said that that is not at all what he was trying to say.

Speaking is easy. We've been doing it longer than our memories serve. It's saying what you mean that is the hard part. I hear (and contribute to) a lot of talk about how ridiculous it is that we have to be so politically correct these days. Is it really that ridiculous, though? I heard someone say this once, on a podcast from The Liturgists:

"I couldn't care less about 'politically correct', but I couldn't care more about using language for people that honors their dignity as human beings. So, if people don't like the term 'politically correct', that's fine with me. Drop the term all you want, but have the decency to use language that preserves human dignity...Do we care enough about people to use language that honors them and their experiences? Are we mature enough to honor the language that people use for themselves?"
- Science Mike

This is why it is so important to choose our words carefully. It isn't just about being politically correct or saying the "right thing". It's about loving people. Loving those around us, and also loving those who can't hear what we are saying. I try my best to use the same language both when my black brothers and sisters are around and when they are not. If I wouldn't find a joke funny with a certain demographic present, then it probably isn't funny at all.

I want to do my best to live a life that honors God's creation. I think that using my words to honor other humans is a big part of that. I want to honor their stories and experiences that I am unaware of. I want to honor their stories and experiences that I am aware of.

Love. Honor. Dignity. All humans deserve these things. Let's go out and spread it.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Planning to make your new travel video? Use one of these songs as your perfect background music!


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