Growing up I can’t say that I had too much of a potty mouth. I had all the proper substitutes, shoot, dang, fetch etc. There was one time in a basketball game against Catholic Central that I was on a break away, I had a clear open lay up and missed it…disappointed I let out what was meant to be a shoot… but came out as “s%#t!” It felt like the gym had gone silent and as I looked up at the huge cross on the gym wall. I had to yell, “shoot I meant shoot.” I was mortified and realized I needed a substitute that sounded nothing like any swear word. I settled on junk.
In all honesty in university I did swear a little. I liked the shock value of it and every now and again some descriptions seemed well emphasized with a little curse. It wasn’t until marriage that my speech was less than becoming of a Christian. My friends might find this hard to believe because I only saved my choicest phrases for one person…. my husband. I am ashamed to admit that he was often the recipient of my less than friendly words. The hardest thing was try as I might I couldn’t stop. I am not sure if you can be addicted to swearing but I would set goals to never do it again only to fail. It wasn’t like it was every conversation and maybe that is why I wasn’t that set in changing.
One time as I was doing my relief society reading the thought came to me to ask the question, “Has anyone had to stop swearing?” It was really awkward because the lesson was on temples… it didn’t even make sense to ask the question but the impression was so clear. So I agreed to do it. (As you can tell by my blog I’m trying to live my life more honestly and if asking for help can get me the desired results , I can do it ) It turned out that the teacher had changed the lesson to be about honesty. So I asked my question. The answers were beautiful and kind. But after the lesson many others approached me and shared some of their experiences. I even formed a little pact with one of the ladies that we would report our status to each other.
It wouldn’t be until a few weeks ago when I went into a professional counselor and he asked me a question … What would you be saying if you weren’t swearing? When I thought about that question, I realized the statements I would make were very valid.
“Please I need more time to process this information,” or “that makes me feel sad” or “I’m hurt.” These are valid statements but they were not what I was communicating when I would abbreviate them down to a few unsavory words. For the first time in my life I realized I wasn’t communicating effectively at all. The statements I were saying to him, didn’t portray the message I had in my heart. If I just took one more second to articulate what I wanted to say, I think my message would be received clearer. It was like a flood of light entered my heart and for the first time I realized how swearing was sabotaging real communication. Oddly enough, as I stopped swearing and actually said the real phrases Dave responded appropriately too.
As I write this post I can imagine what some of the comments might read… I’m not saying my way is the right way. I am simply sharing my truth as the world reveals it to me. With the thousands of expressive words in our language I want to make a commitment to use ones that more clearly identify my true feelings.