” The wound of words is worse than the wound of swords” – Arab proverb
the tough men of the desert who defeated the judging shadows of the dunes, the beating of the flying sands and the loneliness of the night have thought words can hurt much more than swords. It made sense to me somehow but I did not imagine my proud ancestors could agree as well. How did they think the unmistakable sheen reflected when a sword fly to cut through flesh and come out crowned with crimson patterns to its name is not as defeating and painful as words, those formed by untouchable intangible man-made symbols?
“Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.” ~ Jodi Picoult
Such a quote reminded me of something my mum repeated to me over and over as I grew up, “When you speak a word you don’t own it anymore, so think of it carefully”.
At first, I decided to give myself a good half an hour before confronting someone to arrange my words, it actually only lead me to over think and instead of saying it right I end up forgetting what words I chose to say! I realised I understood what mum wanted to teach me wrong;
“Always put yourself in others’ shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.” ~ Rachel Grady
Deciding to follow the words of the wise, I started staring at the red ballerina flats, seductive heels, platform wonders, court heels summoning respect, shiny men shoes that access stock markets and banks and the “want to run a mile” sneakers. I found myself judging their owners instead of understanding the metaphor of shoes; the path taken by the owners to reach where they are today. Their shoes have seen the efforts to decide among cross roads, to defeat the hardships and to learn and by putting myself in them such view can be projected in my mind and I understand that journey.
Words host letters different in character and pronunciation but when put together they form a meaning deep and understood by various people no matter what shoes they are wearing. They are the mirror of our own thoughts and represent us to the world as they communicate who we are, whether written or spoken.
Words can echo in one’s mind, can draw a portrait of imaginary truth that throb into the veins, making their way without defense to the heart, where they are believed and allowed to affect. They do not only cut your flesh like swords, but travel deeper into your soul, into that image of yourself you try to keep and work on preserving and developing, sometimes hard to restore like wounded cells.
That is why we need to think of the receiving “shoes” before uttering our words, for not only can they unintentionally hurt but they can be misunderstood and therefore cause a deep wound unseen by your eyes but still throb in their hearts.
“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. ” ~ Guatama Buddha
So please, borrow their shoes and heal.