Tag: human rights

All Words Matter

All Words Matter

Words we speak, words we don’t say out loud and words we put in writing, they all matter. 

I would like to address the ‘actions speak louder than words’ elephant in the room.  Actions are important, no question.  Couldn’t agree more.

 “Action speaks more powerfully than words, but when you use words as your actions, you probably won’t stop talking.”  “When all is said and done, more is always said than done.”  “People may not tell you how they feel about you, but they always show you. Pay attention.” http://elitedaily.com

That said, what about words?

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Words we say out loud matter

Words can lift us up.  Words can comfort us in difficult times.  Words can make us feel understood.

Words can cut like a knife.  Words can erode our self-esteem.  Words can be a form of abuse.

Words are often the weapon of choice for a bully.

Words can inform.  Words can teach.  Words can foster understanding.

Words can express joy or disappointment.

Words can encourage.  Words can discourage.

Words are open to interpretation of the receiver.

Words can be fact-based or totally fiction.

Words can lead or mislead.

Words can ask for forgiveness and words can forgive.

Words can get you hired.  Words can get you fired.

Words communicate our thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

Words are a verbal expression of who we are.

 

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”  Yehuda Berg

 

Words we don’t say matter

A look or a sigh can express as much as any number of words strung together.

A smile, a squinty eyed glare, the lift of an eyebrow, a comforting touch on the arm all speak volumes.

Silence may be the appropriate response.  Silence can hang in the air like a thick fog.

Gestures can represent s specific word or a general feeling.

Non-verbal clues reveal our intention.

A non-response can be a powerful response.

Good communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, be it personal or professional. It’s important to recognize, though, that it’s our nonverbal communication—our facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and tone of voice—that speak the loudest.  Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Melinda Smith, M.A., Greg Boose, and Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D. Last updated: October 2016.  http://www.helpguide.org/

Commonly used statistics

  • Words (the literal meaning) account for 7% of the overall message
  • Tone of voice accounts for 38% of the overall message
  • Body Language accounts for 55% of the overall message

http://www.bodylanguageexpert.co

The words we say and the words we don’t say matter.
There is no such thing as, “It’s just words.” 

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Lessons from the Couch Test

Lessons from the Couch Test

Slap him or ignore the comment and walk away?  Is this the time to take a stand?

I laughed it off but wondered, “Is this what everyone thinks?”

It was the second time in my short career a white male made the comment, “I guess you passed the couch test,” when I was hired or chosen for a job.

In both cases the men who hired me were complete gentlemen and never made an inappropriate suggestion or move.  As my career progressed, it was the enlightened men and women who were supportive and influential.  The insecure stood in my way, or tried to.

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Over thirty years ago I was a whistle blower.  While reading new-hire files, including the interviewers’ notes, this comment in the file of a young woman is burned in my memory,

“Heavy thighs, otherwise attractive.”

It was a pivotal moment for me.

The Senior V.P. of Human Resources, my boss, was encouraging this type of comment or it would have been eliminated from the file.

Not only was it inappropriate, it was illegal and could have gotten the organization in big trouble.  I went to the highest ranking person I knew at the corporate level to report it.  I figured it might be the end of my employment with that organization, but I was not willing to work for this person.

The corporate attorney got involved; files were scrubbed of such comments; some disciplinary action was taken.

As for me, the organization structure changed and my Training Department moved out of Human Resources and began reporting to the Director of Stores.  Supportive, enlightened people who believed in me protected me.

From the outside, my decisions to take or leave a job probably make no sense.  Often my jobs were out-placed, downsized, right-sized or eliminated.  When the leaving was my choice, it very well might have been prompted by witnessing the abuse of power or a violation of human rights and the inability to look the other way.

inner-light-3Earlier this year I was reminded to stand in my light and own it.

When you allow others to see the light in you, it reflects on everyone around you and everyone benefits.

I hope that my light reflects my desire for  equal rights and the compassionate treatment of all human beings.