4 Steps to speaking peace

About 2 ½ years ago (it will become obviouis later why I remember the exact amount of time it has been) I was sitting in a meeting when I realized how violent it all was.  Interesting enough, I was in a meeting speaking about peace.

There was one person talking about “shooting” e-mails, and “shooting” out a mass “blast” of e-mails.

There was another person talking about “hits” on a website and “hitting” and smashing the other groups that were being violent.

Then there was a person who was responding to the e-mails and the website saying and speaking about that it’s a good “rule of thumb” and “killing two birds with one stone”.

Suddenly, a young man jumped up and said, “We could totally “annihilate” their entire campaing.” (This young man was speaking about disproving a popular  violent sport’s commercial campaign) When the word annihilate escaped his lips, my only vision was the grainy black and white videos of the Atomic Bomb tests, and then the 1960’s stripped down colors the H-Bomb test on bikini atoll flashed back like a wave of mass destruction washed over me.

As I sat through the meeting I counted up the violent phrases that we see as absolutely normal, and I was flabbergasted at the numbers:  2 hour meeting, 200 violent phrases (That’s 100 an hour)

Let’s keep one thing in mind, these are NOT violent people. These are people who are doing amazing things to teach and promote nonviolence.  However, they are merely using words that they have heard, you have heard, we have all heard on a daily basis.


If we, who are trying to promote peace and nonviolence, are speaking 100 violent words an hour, imagine what is being spoken by people who don’t care to promote peace or who don’t even think about it.  Imagine what the media and TV are speaking per hour…are they just as violent?  Of course they are.  It was shown by a Princeton Study that the average American current person watches at least 8 hours of TV a day (remember if you’re watching videos on your phone…you fall into that category.). In that 8 hours, they will experience 274 killings, 520 acts of physical violence, 745 acts of verbal abuse, and most of these acts of violence will be accompanied with upbeat music and laughter.

Psychology piece: The magical letter B:   According to multiple studies, restudies, double restudies they have found: When you think deeply, or areconstantly exposed,  to anything— seeing the letter ‘B,’ for example, or violence — the same parts of your brain involved in performing that action light up.

In essence you are acting and performing these things when you see them

Science piece:  It has been proven time and time again that the more violence we experience, the more violence we commit. If we are hearing over 100 violent words per hour. then we watch thousands and thousands of violent pictures a day, we are encapsulated in violence every minute of every day. That is more violence than anyone can handle. Is it any wonder we live in such a violent society?

Acceptance of violence in our society is very big.

So let’s get back to our original group of people: They are the Primary Prevention Commite of Pinellas County. Their goal is to eradicate violence of qall kind through creating and enacting multiple efforts of primarty prevention in order to recreate the culture. I am honored to be a part of this group. When I brought this up to them, one of the other members had been working on this very thing for most of her career. This seemed to be an interesting task:eliminate all violent language out of your vocabulary. Really – how hard could it be?

These are the steps to eliminating Violence out of your speech (Try it…yes it really is that important):

First step, we tasked ourselves with eliminating violence in our language. You have to set a goal and put your intention out there, right? This turned out to be a lot harder than anyone thought. When we first began we started slipping up almost immediately. After an hour of “trying” to communicate correctly we realized – we are having a really really tough time doing this.

See, we are so connected to the violence and violent language we hear and use all the time, we don’t ever realize it’s coming out of our mouth. We speak it and teach our kids to speak it. No wonder verbal assault is so hard to stop for so many people – it’s almost cultural. (How sad is that.) Yes, that’s what I said (Yeah, I said it.) Look around…we are living in a culture of verbal abuse and violence.

Suddenly it made sense; the reason paying attention to your speech is so important is that it changes the way you think. When you begin to eliminate the violent speech in your language, you begin to see the large amount of violence that is in our language in the first place. Thought comes out of the Ether(soul, god, entity, divine, etc) and enters your brain, where it is turned into an action. A violent word is the result of a line of violent creations starting from…our mind.

The second step is usually finding out how much violent language is in your own speech. This si the step is the most frustrating step. Because now you have the knowledge of the violence and violent language swirling around you all the time. Not only that, you know all the violent words we use on a daily basis, not to mention you hear it yelled as you walk to your job (hopefully that’s where it ends, but not usually).  Then you begin talking. Speaking turns into speaking, and the words are coming our quicker than you can pay attention to each one…and a violent word or a few violent words slip out. You realize it as soon as it happens. Like grabbing the full tube of tooth paste too hard, you can’t put it back in once it has all come out. At this moment, a well placed cuss word is imminent…or at least in your throat.

The third step is the magic step, this is where you try to reform your speech. What you are actually doing, is changing the way your mind connects things to other things. Instead of a violent connection, it is now a peaceful connection. Suddenly, your eyes are opened up to the myriad of words that are available to you that are not violent and actually explain and depict what you’re saying in a better way. Not only that, when you stop and think about a nonviolent phrase, you because more conscious of what you’re saying and how you say it. When this happens you change your brain into a searcher for nonviolent phrases and inevitably nonviolent. When your brain becomes nonviolent, your actions are sure to follow.


Just by changing the words coming out of your mouth, you change your entire brain make up. It’s amazing.

Next step…


Start paying attention to what comes out of your mouth. Try to eliminate the violent words that are coming out of your mouth.

Once we eliminate the sexist & violent words, we are 1000′s of steps closer to equality and peace, just by changing the way we speak!

BTW-Because of our little experiment, we begin working on a Nonviolent Thesaurus. A book that depicts all of the violent phrases and words in our language (at least as many as we could think of-always open for more)and the alternative nonviolent phrase or words. It has been fact checked by the harshest of critics – teenagers-and passed the test. Now, 2 ½ years later – we have finished it.  It is titled Say this, Not That.  PDF is available! Printed copies are available for the cost of shipping.

Nonviolent thoughts =Nonviolent words=nonviolent actions=positive change!



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