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[Graphic credit: Stuart Miles]

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own. ~ Carol Burnett

Along the same lines of choosing your words wisely because you can’t take them back, the quote by Carol Burnett reminds us that the printed word also becomes a living — almost breathing — entity.  A few years ago when I returned to ASU to finish my four-year degree, I wrote a personal essay for one of my classes on the power of the tongue.  In comparison to the wind, both are weightless, yet [have] the power to build up walls or tear down bridges — [their] influence capable of eroding foundations and destroying dreams.  In this electronic day and age, it’s important to keep in mind that although quotes can be retracted with a simple statement, if the information is damning, the harm has already been done.  Oftentimes, it’s simply smarter to say what you have to say either in person, or on the phone, where tones of voice and/or facial expressions fill in the gaps.  Or, if you have the luxury of time, hang on to an email or a text for an extra day or two while you think on it.  A little extra effort can go a long way in making sure our words heal, rather than hurt.

How many times do you wish you could take back something you’ve written after you’ve already pressed “send?”