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Be careful with words. 

What we heedlessly say 

may haunt others the rest of their lives. 

We all know the feeling. Someone we admire or trust inadvertently says something, and it feels like she just slapped us. Caught completely off-guard, we may say something, but more likely we’re too dazed to. The moment passes, and the person moves on to another topic. Slowly we recover, but the pain remains.

We may not think of what the person said for years until something triggers the memory and those words rise anew. And with them the pain. Thus etched in our memory, we realize what was said so long ago has the power to haunt us for the rest of our life, arising unbidden at the strangest, most seemingly unrelated provocation. Had the person realized her casually-spoken words would cause us such pain, would hound us with their needless presence, she wouldn’t have dreamed of saying them.

She just didn’t think.

We can.

And need to.

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