When Words Are an Act of Aggression

By | 19/09/2016

There are differing opinions about people who express their point of view in a careful and gentle manner, especially when the subject is controversial. Some will say these people are fakes and hypocrites, because they choose their words to please other people; as a result, their honesty is doubted.

Others, however, don’t agree with this assessment. They believe that these people are just more attentive and shy away from intrusiveness and asperity. Yes, they are careful with their choice of words, because they wouldn’t ever want to hurt other people.

It might seem that spontaneous and outspoken people defend their points of view more passionately, while gentler people seem to be “on the fence,” and less interested in taking a stand. Although this is often true, it’s not that easy to assess which behavior is more appropriate. This subject involves not only moral issues, but also the effectiveness of communication between people.

Morally speaking, being attentive to others should be the predominant concern; honesty and forthrightness do not entitle us to say whatever goes through our minds, as excessive frankness can be hurtful. For instance, if someone meets a friend who seems unwell and says: “Wow, you’re so pale! You look sick!” they’re being honest, but also incredibly insensitive. The fact that they’re true doesn’t make these words any less aggressive: it actually only emphasizes the offense.

I believe that a good way of evaluating an action in life is by its results. If the effect is destructive, the action is harmful, despite any “good intentions.”

The concept of speaking our minds at any cost is even more unjustifiable when it’s used as an excuse to promote communication and understanding. Without a question, human beings are vain, and if offended by words or attitudes, they’ll develop negative feelings toward the person who made them feel that way.

If someone begins sentences by saying things like “you just don’t understand” or “any idiot can see that…” the immediate result is deafness to their words. People will not even bother to hear whatever else they say or will listen just to try to find the weak point in the argument and counterattack.

When we express ourselves, we must always be very careful with our words, because they affect who listens, for better or worse. When communicating, the message received matters just as much as the message sent out. If we want to benefit others and ourselves through communication, this is an important lesson.

Contempt for the person who receives whatever we’re communicating is a form of moral aggression and disrespect, whether deliberate or not. Some people seem to care only about showing the world how perceptive and brilliant they are; they want to come out on top and teach, never learn. But they provoke anger, not admiration, because the art of seduction works in opposite ways.

Alluring men and women make other people feel attractive, interesting and smart. They prefer to listen, rather than establish just how amazing and wonderful they are.

What kind of person wants to get closer to someone whose main goal is to self-promote all the time? Who can stand endless speeches based on empty narcissism? Almost nobody. Contempt for the listener is, in my understanding, the fruit of extreme individualism and it hides an unconscious desire to fail in life.

 Tradução: Amanda Morris