Why You Need To Think About Your Words Before You Say Them

Photo: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock
woman covering mouth

By Larissa Martin

January 3, 2022 was one of the worst days of my life.

What started out as a normal morning turned into a life-changing event that will forever be with me.

Hold on, let me back up a bit.

On this day, my brother David had COVID-19 and was really sick. It was scary how sick he was. His breathing wasn’t good at all and we as a family were isolated from him because he was so sick.

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David was my part-time aide because I am disabled. So he worked as my aide for years. He would do nights and he was working up until he got really sick. But on this day, he sounded especially terrible.

I asked my full-time aide if they could work that night because of how sick my brother sounded. And my full-time aide said, “I don’t know, it’s my son’s birthday...” I responded, “I don’t know what we’re going to do then because he’s so sick.”

The sentence they said next has stayed with me and traumatized me ever since: “Blame your brother.”

Shortly after that, they left to do their errands. And while they were gone, my brother passed away from COVID. It’s been almost six months since my brother passed and it still feels unreal, honestly.

Even though my full-time aide has been extremely helpful since my brother’s passing, and my family and I are very appreciative, I cannot get those words out of my head.

They said, “blame your brother.” Why would I do that? It’s not like he planned on getting sick and ending up dying.

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Every time I hear that I get livid because I don’t honestly think they intended to say that at the time. They were frustrated because my brother was not cleaning and sanitizing anything he touched, and he was not wearing a mask.

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My full-time aide thought he was being careless, and they didn’t want any of us to get sick, let alone themselves.

I get that, I do. But looking back on what followed a few hours later, it makes me so angry. How could it not? I think anyone would be if they heard that.

The truth is if I were to bring it up to them now, they wouldn’t even remember saying it. But the sad honest truth is I do and I will forever.

So remember: words matter even if you don’t remember saying them at the time. They last with people more than you think.

Do I personally think they meant those words in the moment? No, I don’t think they thought about the impact their words would have on me.

Often, we as people and society say things without thinking or take things out of context without realizing the hurt we might have caused or the damage we might have done.

Just by saying a few words or a sentence, you could change someone’s life forever.

I think if more people would think before they speak or ask themselves “how would I feel if this was being said to me?” or “how would it affect me?” people might choose their words more carefully.

At the end of the day, words really do matter. Unfortunately, you can’t take them back once they have been said. So whatever you say, think before you say it and be kind. It makes all the difference.

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Larissa Martin is a writer whose work has been featured on MSN, Yahoo Lifestyle, Thrive Global, Unwritten, YourTango, and The Mighty.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.