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If you’ve nothing good to say, keep quiet

Friday, February 24, 2012 - 00:00 -- BY KAMAL KAUR

Stupid is a common word that gets used frequently with no second thought. No, it’s not a swear word and my mum won’t stick a tablespoon of red chillies into my mouth for saying it but I personally feel it’s such a derogatory word. Telling someone they’re stupid is actually very mean because you’re mocking their intelligence. Pray, why do you want to put someone down? Are you that high up on a pedestal that the only way to deal with people is to look down on them? I’ve always been taught that the only time you should look down on people is if you are taller than them.

If you’re the one who is indulging in this petty name-calling, you may not realize the negative impact you might have on them. Psychologically it’s very damaging to keep calling someone names. I know this from experience. I was called all sorts of names for many years by someone who thought the level of superiority they were at was untouchable. Fair enough if you have such high self esteem about yourself but it doesn’t give you the license to demean others.

For many years I believed I was useless because it was constantly drilled in me by this person that I’m no good and stupid. The outward happy go lucky person I portrayed was actually just an insecure person who would never accepted any compliments and totally believed the worst about herself. I’m glad to say that as I attempted to cut myself free from the clutches of that negativity I was surrounded by a few very positive people who did a lot to help me see myself through their eyes and slowly I started allowing myself to believe that perhaps I wasn’t that useless at all. Despite being told otherwise by many, I still have this self-doubt that niggles me at the back of my mind that perhaps there is something wrong with me or what I am doing; that perhaps I’m not supposed to be doing what I’m doing because I’m not good at it – be it cooking, painting, drawing, or just being myself.

You see, the toll that someone’s words can take on one can be very damaging. You may think stupid is a simple word to call someone but you have no idea what battles that person may be fighting, and the use of your word could tip them over into an abyss they are actually trying to climb out of. Be nice to people, and if you have nothing nice to say, then just keep quiet. That has never done any damage that can destroy someone completely. Also try and connect your brain to your tongue every once in a while. Thoughts can be controlled but once that tongue starts snipping away you can cause a lot of harm. Like Forrest Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does." Keep your stupidity to yourself before you judge others… stupidly, of course.

Kamal.kaur@radioafricagroup.co.ke