Beyond Words by Cecilia Spary
As an interpreter of three languages, words and their meaning are the main tool in this line of work. Within my twenty plus years of working with words, I have learned that they are more than simply that: words
What are words other than signs? Well, I can only speak as a person who can communicate in different languages, but most importantly, from my own life experiences: words are powerful, they are much more than a meaning or a group of phonetic sounds; words can build someone up or completely tear them down. Words can make people laugh, cry, encourage or frighten them, make our stomachs “flutter”…the possibilities are endless because words and emotions are deeply connected, no matter the language being spoken.
In my many years working with these seemingly innocent symbols and people, I’ve come to the realization that we as human beings, the only species able to use the spoken word, hold a huge responsibility, because we are carrying a powerful weapon.
I have also learned important lessons which I hope you find useful.
Lesson #1: I can’t repeat this enough; words are powerful. They can encourage someone or completely destroy them…and everything in between.
Lesson #2: Words can be as piercing as daggers. You might think that any sharp object is dangerous: they can cut, scratch, open deep wounds and even kill you; words are so mighty they are capable of doing that and even more. Yes, much more.
Physical wounds can heal and scar, and if we get lucky, that scar can even disappear overtime. However; words are more powerful than any sharp weapon: they can shatter your soul, your most inner self, and open wounds that may never heal. Some others heal but never scar, so the wound is so vulnerable that can open up at any given moment when the right person tells you over and over again how stupid, dumb, ugly, fat, worthless, useless etc. you are. Are you hearing those words now? Who’s saying such horrendous things to you? See? You felt that piercing insult right in your chest, and the image of a parent, relative, friend, lover came to your head. They cut you so deeply that they still hurt, right? Yes, words are powerful, piercing daggers. There’s no doctor, medication, counselor that can cure a broken heart or crushed soul. We live in this “Band-aid” society where we think a few pills a day will help….I’m not against Western medicine, I think we all need to see our doctor regularly; but if we don’t heal from within, those pills will only make us numb to our reality, our true source of suffering and constant pain in our hearts.
Do whatever you have to do to heal from the inside out…but do it now.
Lesson #3: our survival, self-preserving instinct carried in our genetic pool for over a million years teaches us how to tolerate the wounds and the chronic pain developed thanks to someone who hurt us. Even worse, we tend to ignore those signs of emotional pain. How many times have you heard broken-hearted people act like they are “over” a painful issue?:
“I have finally healed and moved on” “I couldn’t care less what he/she does…I don’t hold any grudges” and my favorite as a woman: “I’m so OVER him!” Usually followed by a loud, fake laugh. And we notice the pain pretty quickly behind that show they just put up for us.
It’s amazing how oblivious we go through life with a distorted perception of what most people perceive from us. Those invisible scars are very obvious for most people. But please don’t feel discouraged when someone receptive (an empath), picks up those weaknesses very quickly; simply own it and get professional a n d spiritual help. There’s nothing wrong with you… you’ve been probably noticing that attitude towards others yourself, and that struggle to convince yourself that you are “over” the issue, can eventually cause more damage: you’ve been hurt enough. It’s time to put your pride aside, take the mask off and ask for help. Please.
Lesson#4: I’ve noticed that people who live with open wounds are more common than we think. Don’t feel threatened or embarrassed if someone receptive enough can see those invisible wounds. Actually, consider yourself lucky-yes-lucky. Your scars are only invisible to those selfish individuals who walk around this world oblivious of other people’s suffering. We live in an overwhelmingly individualistic society, where “ME, MYSELF AND I” are the most used personal pronouns of the English language.
However; when we are broken, we are obviously more vulnerable and easily influenced by “all the right words”, but I’ll get to that later. Because of my personal experiences with suffering-believe me, I’ve been knocked down in this ring called life numerous times- I’m grateful for those who have seen through my forced smile and have been compassionate, willing to lend a helping hand and shown true concern for my well-being. These people have a good heart, have been through similar situations (or not) and they have an innate calling to help others.
Believe me, you have been blessed if you come across these rare to find individuals because they are becoming extinct. Hopefully you develop healthy relationships, whether friendly or romantic with them and lift each other up, because it is almost guaranteed that they have been through a great deal of pain as well. I’m a true believer that two hurt souls can help each other heal through mutual understanding, patience and mainly love.
Well, now it’s time to warn you about the other kind of people who have the gift to see through your soul, but their intentions are not the best. Actually, it’s quite the opposite: they take full advantage of your vulnerability and are very likely to use your pain towards their own benefit. As strange as it may sound or difficult to understand for most of us, yes, there are truly evil people in this world. How evil? Does it really matter? Evil is evil… they will tell you “all the right words” you want to hear, convince you that you’re so wonderful, so perfect, so kind and beautiful that they feel humbled by the honor of your company.
I always joke that these people should literally carry a huge red flag on them at all times! That smooth talking is just a tactic to get you “hooked”, because they are unbelievably good with words, but that’s it.
They will use you to gain financial benefit from you: they usually “forget their wallet” at home when the bill arrives or call you last minute “my checking account has been blocked for some strange reason! Can I borrow $…… from you to pay my car insurance that’s due today? I’ll pay you back this Friday”...of course Friday comes and they suddenly forget they borrowed money from you. But darn! They are good with words! You will feel so sorry they are having such a struggle…right?
Another common tactic is to use their hypnotizing smooth talking to seduce the target and well…you know what they get…some fun, and more fun…and they are good at it!
Maybe it’s a promotion, important connections, status, an attractive partner to show off, favors of all kinds or simply a roof over their heads and food in the fridge… the motives are endless. They are master manipulators who have a gift with words.
“Beware of Vultures”.
Lesson#5: We grow up. Hopefully. However; no matter how many times we have repeated to ourselves “Never again” like a mantra, we are human… we can fall in the trap again, the only difference is that this time the setup is more sophisticated. Some of us fall for “all the right words” again, and others-who have been much more alert, have the pleasure to say “I forgot my wallet too! Let me go get it from my car”, and then RUN faster than Forest. Kudos to these people! You’ve learned the “magician’s tricks” and outdid them. Standing applause, please!
They deserve it…
Now – on a more serious tone – we have hopefully learned from those past “beautifully said words and no actions” and developed an “opportunist at sight” radar, and heal from within, which takes time and lots of self-care, but it can be achieved. This is the perfect time to develop all those healthy relationships we all long for, because when our soul has healed, our heart mended and our self-esteem has been elevated to a healthy happy medium; we attract good people who might not necessarily say “all the right words”, because they don’t need to pretend anything, those people have “all the honest words”, the most exquisite ones we can hear.
Lesson#6: We also make mistakes and use hurtful words sometimes. On a conscious or unconscious level, we have said very destructive things, we have lied (yes, little white lies are still lies), we have manipulated others… maybe not at the “vultures” level – reaching that level is almost impossible if you have feelings- but we have hurt others one way or another. Maybe we said something mean to someone out of spite, jealousy, envy etc…Maybe we have made promises at a very happy moment in our lives to then realize we cannot fulfill, and end up disappointing a fellow human being.
Who hasn’t said something extremely stupid at a moment of rage or frustration? “I quit!” turn around and slam the door behind you.
“I wish I had never met you”, “You’re a nobody”, “I don’t want to see you ever again”, “Go get a life”, “I hate you”…Have you said at least ONE of these? If your answer is yes, congratulations! You’re a flawed human being!
But…watch out! If you have said most of them, just take it easy and think twice before saying something you’ll regret later.
The saying goes “Never make a promise when you are too happy or too sad”, but I think it applies to everything we say.
One more thing: please apologize when you hurt others, it’s not a sign of weakness, it actually shows strength of character.
Lesson#7: Words left unspoken. Yes, not hearing anything from the person we are expecting is probably the worst, most painful kind: feeling ignored by the one we thought cared about us.
This is honestly the most difficult “lesson” for me to write about. I always say “silence is deafening”…
Whether you are constantly checking your phone, waiting for at least a couple of words from that person who promised you eternal love to only turn into a total stranger; or checking your mail desperately to see if you were given that position you interviewed a whole month for; sitting for hours at a waiting room of a hospital, praying to see the doctor show up and say “It’s going to be fine, the surgery was a success”, asking for a much needed and well-deserved raise to only getting the silent treatment from your boss…or that “I’m sorry” you know you deserve, but never comes; and the universal, powerful “I still love you”... from that one person who swore to never give up on you because you were the love of their life…
Words…just symbols with sounds. The concept seems simple, yet it’s the most powerful weapon of them all. “The tongue is mightier than the sword” some wise person said..
Finally, I’d like to finish this article by telling you something I read on a church sign as I was driving to work a few days ago. It read:
“Make sure your words are sweet, for one day you might have to eat them”.
Love one another,
About the author
Cecilia Spary is a freelance writer whose creations include a vast range of styles: poetry, short tales, theater monologues, essays, articles the list goes on.She is a Medical Interpreter who speaks three different languages and a TESOL-certified ESL teacher. Her articles and essays have been published on well-known organizations’ websites such as The National Council On Interpreting In Health Care, Hispanics in Ohio blog and Latinos Magazine; as well as a number of literary creations in Uruguay, her native country.Cecilia is entering the world of blogging with her own “Beautiful Chaos: Diaries Of A Mad Woman” in March 2017.
This brand new blog will give an entertaining, satirical, raw and hilarious view of the world of relationships in general based on her own life experiences. Although the the tone of the blog is very sarcastic, the purpose is also to empower people -whether in a relationship or not- to face their love and relationships lives with humor (and a few “serious notes”, of course). Cecilia is a divorced mother of one who resides in Cincinnati, OH.