The Sanity of Slow Words

31 Dec

Slow Words for improved communication by Rural SpinThe Slow Food movement, founded in 1986, seeks to reconnect us to real enjoyment and respect as it relates to the food we eat. Instead of gobbling up fast food that is low on taste and health, sit down to meals using local, nourishing foods cooked in a thoughtful manner. Slow Food is, in fact, retro eating in a modern world. (To learn more about Slow Food, check out their website.) In this spirit, I’d like to see us focus on what is healthy and thoughtful in our personal communications, too. In response, I’m calling for a Slow Words movement, to reconnect us with a retro and arguably more civilized communication style for our modern lives.

I don’t know about you, but I feel saturated with the accusatory diatribe that seems to permeate not only the internet but also our interpersonal relationships. People seem bent on suspicion and accusation instead of true listening, understanding, empathy, and compromise. It’s as if our societal whole lost sight of behaviors that make life bearable: kindness, civility, and personal accountability. We’ve lost the ability to think first and ponder, then speak, and instead just blurt out whatever quick emotions trick us into at a given instant. But as in many things in life, thrown stones are difficult to retrieve, and accusations once made cannot be taken back (but if you’re lucky, the falsely accused can forgive). Slow Words cautions us to hold on to that stone and keep those words in check until we are sure we want to speak them, and until we are willing to see that those accusations say more about us than the accused.

As part of a Slow Words movement, let’s feel and speak with open hearts and an empathetic and forgiving view of others. Instead of allowing our own fears and suspicions to rule whatever flies out of our mouths or off our fingertips, let’s take a cue from Emily Post — American authority on etiquette who died in 1960 — who once said, “Manner is personality: the outward manifestation of one’s innate character and attitude toward life.” Treating others decently and with empathy and understanding (or the opposite) is a reflection on you much more than it is a reflection on the other person.

When it comes down to it, the true liars, cheats, morons and deceivers are not as common as the accusations of many seem to indicate. Mostly, we are all just people making the best choices we can given the knowledge we have at that time, and few of those choices are made with ill intent. So how can we judge someone we’ve never even seen, or have only known for a few months? Do we really think we can know who that person is, what motivates them, or what their challenges are in that short a time? Most can’t, especially if they are blinded by their own pasts and prejudices. The person called a liar and a cheat probably isn’t, the faceless forum or Facebook member called a moron probably isn’t, that, either.

Slow Words seeks to break this cycle. And it is quite simple, really. All we have to do is to stop accusing, and start listening with positive intent instead of suspicion. Think before speaking, and allow that pause to insert some sense into the conversation. Make sure your communication reflects what you really want and who you really are and if it doesn’t, then maybe keeping your mouth closed and keyboard inactive for awhile is the better choice.

I realize I am an incurable optimist and have way too much empathy and positive belief in others for my own good, but I believe if we Slow our Words down that we will all be happier, and our relationships with strangers and those close to us much improved. Slow Words can change the world. Once we start using Slow Words, real understanding, true and lasting connection, and resolution can take place.

Rural Spin

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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Historic Reflections


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9 responses to “The Sanity of Slow Words

  1. Miki Wagner

    December 31, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Excellent topic and idea for the New Year!!! Since I just received this post, I am probably responding too fast. LOL I will make slow words a daily resolution and thank you!

    • Rural Spin

      December 31, 2013 at 9:18 am

      Ha! A fast response on Slow Words…I’m ok with that. ;-) Happy New Year!

  2. sarasinart

    December 31, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Great way to put all this! People are so important, and we can take time to really communicate, including treating others the way we’d like to be treated. Happy New Year!

    • Rural Spin

      December 31, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Thank you! And a Happy New Year!

  3. Rebecca

    December 31, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I would include curtailing the use of profanity in this as well. Words that once were never spoken in polite conversation are commonplace now. No one seems to think twice when the “f-word” is used in restaurants and stores where there are small children or others who might be offended. It’s all part of a lack of civility that pervades our society.

  4. Lynnette

    January 1, 2014 at 4:18 am

    Rebecca, bless you, this was my very first thought!

  5. Julie Kitson

    January 2, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Excellent, thank you for sharing

  6. Nancy

    January 16, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I agree with your article on ‘Slow Words’ and with the comment by Rebecca on the f-bomb being used in public places. Blessings to you.

  7. John

    January 17, 2014 at 6:42 am

    First off thank you for articulating so profoundly what I have been seeing in the last 10 or so years. Even at the professional level people interrupt others and curse and I refuse to participate in that free for all. I am going to be even more mindful in the future.


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