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What Do Your Words Really Say?

There are certain go-to phrases we adopt to thoughtlessly express a given moment. A way we say hello. A word when we hit every green light. A muttering when the dog tracks in mud.

Mostly my go-to phrases are pretty tame. But three years ago, one of my phrases of frustration suddenly became tasteless. These words, never serious, often triggered polite smiles. They simply were meant to be a humorous release.

I just was blowing steam, not thinking about other people’s lives. I hadn’t considered how my expression could be tasteless. When overwhelmed and drained of patience, I’d say “I’m going to kill myself.”

After my brother, Eric, died by suicide, my perspective on this expression took an abrupt turn. When I heard someone say, “I’m going to kill myself,” I froze. In that instant, grief overtook me.

Such charged words used in thoughtless ways reflect an unintentionally callous perspective toward life. Never would I carelessly throw those words around again because suicide isn’t a joke. And my cavalier attitude must have negatively impacted those around me.

How we use our words creates the world around us. Because word choice has the power to both spawn and structure our world, some things we must take seriously. Death by suicide is one.

Instead of a turn of phrase that diminishes the value of every life, let’s pause to reach for words that compound the value of every life.

I’m Elsa Glover, and that’s my perspective.

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