Words are powerful. They may not be able to break your bones or cause you any physical harm but words can be dangerous if misused. All powerful things are. Whatever you say with your mouth goes a long way, sometimes it does not only have an effect on you but also on the people who are listening, more so if they take heed.
They say it is better to listen than to talk, but how do you avoid being consumed by the words of the talker? Because words are not just words, they evoke emotions. When this occurs, people become attached and form opinions after which they epitomize those opinions and emotions. This can be a good thing, but not always. I once became a victim without noticing, in a way that was not good.
I always desire to be on the side of the truth, regardless of how it makes me feel. Whether or not it favours me but sometimes, if not most times, the truth resembles the lie too much to tell the difference. My father and I used to argue a lot about Kenyan politics (I quit because arguing only left me drained with nothing achieved), he was for one political party and to him, there was nothing the rival party could do that would be right. So I would argue with him just to reveal the other side of the coin but not that I supported the other party, just to make things level, trying to state little truths here and there.
Election time came in 2007 and the news were selling filled with so much tribal rhetoric in them. That election was the first I was liable to vote. So I listened, not only to politicians but also to people who surrounded me, they seemed to say similar things. Not much was being said about the issues, people did not care about those, they had already made up their minds based on tribe on who they were going to vote for, all that their tribal leaders had to do was say anything and it would be right to them. And then it became ugly, people became emotional, I gradually took sides based on what I heard being said, mostly fuelled by hate. Sometimes its not how you say it, sometimes its just what you say, period. Thankfully I was not infected by hate. But I took sides and I put my faith in a bunch of greedy people whose ideologies I did not even agree with, just because they talked loudest, just because they moved crowds (including me), I could see during the campaigns that they lied, but on election time I took sides because of their stupid rhetoric. Why did I take sides, both sides were the same.. liars! What happened to the truth?
I was watching Christiane Amanpour interviewing President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on CNN the other night. This man has caused his country a lot of economic turmoil, that is the common knowledge. I was surprised that he would even accept an interview with Christiane Amanpour on CNN! Again, I listened. He made sense in the beginning, talking like the very educated man that he is, he was so convincing! Then I thought, there goes that rhetoric again. But I was glad to see that later he was asked a tough yet simple question and he practically choked on air, pausing for a good thirty seconds before he could answer. Then everyone could see the lie. From this interview I learned that Mr. Mugabe is not a simpleton, he just lacks wisdom.
The thing is to listen and to receive the words as a separate entity from the person saying the words so that your opinion of the person does not affect your judgment towards the words that he is saying. Because just because a person is an idiot, it does not mean that he is wrong. On receiving the words, it is upon an individual to use their wisdom to evaluate those words and to decide what lessons, conclusions or opinions can be formulated from those words. For there is something to learn from everything that you listen to, even from evil words. But I could be wrong, and that is the beauty of life.