Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Cuss

posted in: Thinking Aloud | 26

The Truth About Cussing

As someone who has struggled with cussing over a period of twenty years, I feel it is important for me to share what I have learned about this supposedly more expressive form of speech. I won’t share the details of my own cussing story just yet. That’s in the works for a different post on another day. But I feel the fact that I have lived both ways gives me a different insight into this issue. So here are what I think are the four reasons why you shouldn’t cuss.

Note: My wife and I are considering writing an ebook about how to stop cussing. This page does not deal with how to stop. It just offers reasons why you should (or more accurately – why I did). If this is something you would be interested in, please leave a comment below or send me a message via the contact form on this site. We would like to hear from people who are interested in this book to help us decide whether or not to pursue it.

1) Cussing Is Repulsive

“Hey, mind if I smoke?”
“No, mind if I fart?”
Steve Martin

Profanity is no different from passing gas or peeing in a public pool. It’s repulsive. It offends people.

I know that you might be thinking that it doesn’t offend your friends. Right? Well, sure. A room full of people who are okay with cussing is a lot like a room full of people who don’t mind if you pick your nose and eat the snot, as long as they can do it, too. Of course it’s not offensive to people who cuss as much as you do.

But none of us live in a vacuum. If it was just about our friends then maybe cussing would be okay. But it’s not. We must interact with people from all walks of life. It’s part of being a responsible human being.

So now you are probably thinking that you don’t care what anyone else thinks about the way you behave. You think that they shouldn’t be judging you and that they should just mind their own business. Right?

2) Profanity Is Selfish and Self Centered

There is a big difference between you not caring what people think and you not caring about people.

I agree. It is not a good idea to let the opinions of others cause you to say or do the wrong thing. We are not supposed to be motivated by popularity or the need to fit in. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what we mean when we say “I don’t care what people think?” It’s not a rebellious thing. It’s really not about doing what I want regardless of what it does to others. No, it’s about being mature enough to make our own decisions and to not be distracted from what we know is right. Well, at least that what I mean when I say that I don’t care what people think. I refuse to let anyone manipulate me into doing what I know is wrong.

But to  continue cussing because you don’t care what people think is really nothing more than a selfish act of disrespect. When you cuss, you are really saying that you don’t care about anyone else but yourself. That’s very different from saying you don’t care what they think of YOU. One is a selfish act of disrespect and the other is a sign of maturity.

The same is true for all rudeness. Passing gas, peeing in the pool, picking your nose, pointing at people (wow, that’s one you don’t hear about anymore), bad hygiene, not sharing, all of these are expressions of selfishness and disrespect to other people. If your excuse for doing these things is that you don’t care what people think, then you have it backwards. It is you who doesn’t care about other people.

3) Swearing Is Unintelligent and Lazy

Cussing is the act of a lazy mind.

This is probably the most cited argument against cussing. Most intelligent people will tell you that the use of profanity is a cop-out.  It’s the easy way out of saying what you truly mean. This is why we associate cussing with a lack of intelligence.

This association is a little inaccurate of course. There are plenty of intelligent people who use profanity.

When we use fowl language, we actually end up not using the language part of our mind. What we don’t use, we lose. Right? So every time we cuss instead of articulating our feelings with real words, we put off the day that we become capable of expressing ourselves when we are emotional. Wouldn’t you agree that this is a valuable skill? How often do you look back at those times when you should have said something but the right words just wouldn’t come to you in the heat of the moment?

Like everything else in life, being articulate takes practice. But just as there are musicians who play the music fine when they practice at home – only to crash and burn in performances, there are also people who do very well expressing themselves until it actually counts. Usually when we are emotional, those are the times when it counts most. If we give up each time we become emotional, cussing instead of being more articulate, we never really learn how to communicate our feelings when we are actually feeling them.

4) Cursing Shows a Lack of Self Control

A lot of people think they can’t do this. They think they can’t control their mouths when they are emotional. Well, I disagree. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. I cussed for about twenty years, from about 1980 to 2000. During that twenty years there were times when it was worse than others. I resolved many times to stop and only managed to reign my mouth in for a while before something emotional triggered another cussing phase. But in the end I did finally stop. (We can talk about how I stopped later, for now I just want to try to convince you that cussing is bad.) So when I say cussing shows a lack of self control, I am saying it from the perspective of someone who can say, “been there, done that.”

You know, I get the impression that “self control” has become something of a “bad word” in our modern society. People react as if the very thought of exercising self control is somehow an assault on their rights. WOW! If you are one of those who feels like self control is a bad thing, I beg you to take a really good look at what you’re saying.

Without self control, we are nothing but animals. And in fact, that’s what cussing always felt like to me, as if I was barking or grunting like an animal. Unfortunately, when you give up self control, it drags you deeper into the proverbial gutter where not only is it even more difficult to stop cussing, but other problems begin to creep into your life. And the deeper you slide, the more the cussing feeds on itself and grows.

Have you noticed that? Think about it. Once again, I am saying this from experience. Because cuss words have no real meaning, after a while they become ineffective in releasing our frustrations. We begin to seek more offensive words or try to say them in a more offensive manner because the less offensive ones just aren’t doing it for us anymore. After a while, we get to a point where every other word is “the F word” and even that means nothing to us anymore. It’s really like an addictive drug and the more we use it, the more immune we become to it.

I prefer to live a life that is not controlled by my body. As a Christian I believe that my body and soul must be submitted to the will of my spirit which is submitted to the Holy Spirit. This is what self control is to me, making my body conform to what I know is right.

But cussing is an act of letting the body rule the soul. It’s backwards. When we are irritated, we want to resort to the primal roar of cussing to make us feel better. But any time you let your body rule your life that way, you are asking for trouble.

Summary

Almost everyone I know cusses (even some Christian/religious people I know have their own substitution words they use for cussing – which really isn’t any different). Foul language has become as much a part of our society as smoking or drinking. It is not my place to judge or condemn anyone for it. I used to do it, too, and have no room to judge anyone else. But I know now what life is like without it and if I say I truly love you, my neighbor, then I cannot just pretend it’s okay. Yes, it’s your choice. But wouldn’t you rather live a better life?

Remember, please let us know if you are interested in buying an ebook about how to stop cussing. I would only want to do it if I could keep the cost down to $1.99. So we’re not talking a huge investment here. If you are interested in the book about how to stop cussing, please leave a comment below or contact us using the contact form on this site. Thank you!


 

26 Responses

  1. Deanna

    You spelled “lose” wrong. It isn’t “loose” and I hope that was a typo since you are writing about intelligence and illiteracy. 🙂

    • Otherlyn

      @ Deanna: Um…
      “…writing about intelligence and illiteracy…?”
      I thought he was talking about cussing.

    • Eddie

      Hello Dakota,

      Thanks for your spelling correction. However, I intentionally spelled it wrong for SEO purposes. This post gets more hits than any other page on my website because of the effort that I invested into the SEO. Some people spell wrong, and I want them to come to my site (or sight LOL).

  2. Eddie

    The following is a comment I read on facebook in response to this post. I will respond to it later when I have some time.

    “What constitutes a word as a cuss word? Words only have the meaning you place upon them. The real problem is the heart you say your words with. Just food for thought.

    Also, the insinuation that all people who curse are lazy and unintelligent, and the implication that we cannot form an argument or carry on a meaningful conversation without cursing, is downright insulting.”

    • Eddie

      Okay, now to answer some questions:

      1) What constitutes a cuss word?

      I have a good friend who is an almost rabid defender of the English language. He says that cuss words are any words that refer to human “bodily functions.” So, according to that definition, the word “fart” is a cuss word…which explains why my mother never liked that word (I personally don’t see it as a cuss word – unless you say something like “stop farting around” – but who says that?).

      Websters defines it this way:
      “an offensive word that people say when they are angry”

      I think the key word here is “offensive.” In other words, Websters agrees with me (or I agree with them).

      There are of course different kinds of bad language. If cussing refers to bodily functions, then swearing is probably something else. Christians are not to use the Lord’s name in vain. I think this is what swearing and profanity are. Please feel free to correct me, but that’s how I see it. If you use “God” or “Jesus” in an offensive way, then you are “swearing” or using “profanity.”

      Okay, that said, let’s address the rest of his response:

      2) Is this blog “downright insulting?”

      They say that the best way to write is to pull from your own experiences. I am not accusing other people of being less intelligent or the like. NO! I am saying that I have seen how cussing has affected MY own ability to communicate and grow my vocabulary.

      If you are offended by me sharing my life experience, then I ask you to take a good look at what is REALLY bothering you. If you think you are super intelligent now, I ask you to consider the possibility that learning more self control would make you even MORE intelligent than you think you are now. If you think you are good at forming an argument now, just imagine how much better you would be if you had enough self control to stop cussing.

      It’s not a black and white thing. There isn’t just super intelligent and super stupid. There are many, many levels of intelligence between the two extremes.

      And YES, someone who cannot or will not stop cussing is going to be less verbally intelligent than that very same person without the cussing.

      And I guess that’s my point. This is not about cussers vs. non-cussers. This is about me cussing vs. me not cussing and you cussing vs. you not cussing. One is more intelligent than the other. Guess which one is which!!!! If you are super intelligent, you can probably figure that one out on your own.

      No need to be offended here. I am not here to put anyone down. More than anything, I hope to lift people up.

  3. Henry

    You wrote “fowl language” for SEO purposes? What audience are you trying attract, chickens?

  4. NOLA

    This article was sent to me at just the right time. I have a beautiful, intelligent and professional child that has a potty mouth. I’ve tried telling her this offends me and others around her and try to enforce that ‘cussing’ is used by those that don’t have a good command of the English language. I’ve also told her it is so disrespectful. I would never speak in that manner in front of my parents and those I care about, so why would she? I agree with you, it’s a lack of self-control and laziness. She totally disagrees with me. I’ve noticed that this has become her norm now, whereas her colorful language only used to come out when she was very emotional. As you stated above, the more angry/emotional she becomes, the more foul her words are. Naturally she claims she knows how to control her language, but I haven’t seen it. Thank you so much for posting this.

  5. Tom Wertz

    I agree. What’s astonishing to me is the increase in profanity in magazines! More and more magazines are allowing the word to slip in to one or two articles. I guess they think they’re attracting a more hip, enlightened audience? I find it horribly offensive, personally.

  6. Brolightning

    “When we use fowl language, we actually end up not using the language part of our mind. What we don’t use, we lose.” Finally an explanation for why I shouldn’t curse. When we curse the ego loves that and feeds off of it because it’s pure emotion. When we are not learning we are suffering. The less of our mind we use the more the ego grows and we become more reactive allowing the pain body to call the shots instead of our being.

    • Brolightning

      Very good article. Thanks for explaining in depth. Cursing is overrated and it’s spread by mainstream. I listen to the type of music and most of it isn’t mainstream so why did I ever curse something that is? Wow… I guess old habits die hard.. I feel so bad for cussing but day by day I’ll chip away the habit somehow. Sorry for posting twice felt like I needed to. It wasn’t that often that I cussed just rarely and thoughtfully. It wasn’t impulsive now I know why it never will because I’m too intelligent for something like that which is why and when I did I felt weird. Thanks for reading.

  7. xd

    ur saying farting in public is bad. [realy]? steve jobs cuss, bill gates cuss, obama cuss, are u saying these people are lazy and dumb?

    • Eddie Lewis

      No. I’m saying that, as a result of cussing, they are more “lazy and dumb” than they should be.

  8. Berlin

    Cussing, especially in public is like having a bowel movement from out of your mouth for everyone to see. Who would want this? Nothing is more distressing than seeing a beautiful women or “lady” or gorgeous man or “gentleman” all dressed up in clean, quality clothes, looking all pretty on the outside, then open his or her mouth only to have words of grossness or profanity/cussing/cursing come out. To me, they might as well open their mouths and have a bowel movement come out in front of everyone. How gross is that? (Almost as gross as the profanity coming out of one’s mouth? …That’s what I thought. ) What is inside of a person comes out in his or her language and thoughts, and yes, in just a split second of time that it takes, that image of beauty can get associated with bowel movement, no matter how pretty or handsome or successful a person is. It just goes to show that many are deceived or entranced by “sight beauty” and from the outward appearance versus “sound beauty” and from inner beauty. This is possibly how Trump could easily get into office. People choose and/or “subconsciously/unconsciously” ( take your pick ) ignore what comes out of other people’s mouths or they laugh at it and even applaud it as if they are so helplessly entranced by the charm of outward appearance. For me, dung is dung, no matter whose mouth it is coming out of. People should stand up more against cussing instead of sheepishly and mindlessly grinning, laughing, applauding and encouraging it. More people get offended and will say something to someone who consistently has bad breath or body odor, or by someone who purposely passes gas; so, why do people choose to tolerate profanity? Perhaps it has to do with the rewards that profanity/cussing/cursing gets, the applause, the laughs, the attention, the higher ratings in music or movies ( rated PG-13 or R vs G ), thus larger audiences and more money, the surprised reaction and approval from the opposite sex or from the person one happens to “attract” just because the person is attracted to, entranced by, and more easily distracted by outer beauty that he or she chooses to ignore the true bowel movement coming out of the other person’s mouth; thus, they smile at it, laugh at it and mindlessly embrace the bowel movement as just an act that elicits a response of ” oh, that person is like me” or ” that person is so human” or ” that person reminds me so much of my brother who was a sailor … I’m sooo attracted to that”. ( Sad ) Perhaps if we associated cursing with having a public bowel movement instead of associating it with glamour, success, beauty, attractiveness, money, “confidence”, unbridled freedom and independence, an impressive carefree attitude of what others think, then maybe, just maybe people could learn to tolerate it less. Face it, cussing is an addiction and a habit. The more one uses it, the more one becomes dependent upon it and the more one becomes dependent upon it, the less effective it becomes, so now one has to use it more and more to get the initial high and by then, it has become a normal part of one’s vocabulary and possibly becomes a stepping stone to harsher “substance abuse” ( bigger, more provocative words perhaps leading to harsher, bolder actions such as road rage, hate crimes, acting on one’s curse-word induced impulses … who knows? ) ‘ Sounds far-fetched? Well, I certainly do not see a decline in cursing, do you? In fact, it has taken over some school systems to the point where teachers now just tolerate it and some even use it themselves. Look, if one can discipline one’s tongue, one can have control over one’s mind, body, and actions. It may seem small, but maybe it needs to start there! The problem is “starting there”. Once a nationwide habit has formed, it’s hard for a nation to stop the habit and start exercising mature discipline! Any suggestions? …Self-help groups? More responsible adults? More responsible parenting? More soap bars? Lol! Dagnabit, I’m done!

  9. mike

    I was brought up being not to swear. then i come to the city. seem inadequate mine adequate just don’t think before they open their mouth. i love you all so i’m not trying to offend anyone. God
    Bless. please just think before you speak. thank you very much.

  10. Amber

    If you write a book I would encourage you to use stories…I remember my dad talking to me about a boys college that did not allow cussing because they wanted the guys to learn how to be in control of their emotions. Also there are many scripture references, but some people might not like the preachy part even if it’s what they need. The last suggestion I would have is to have a place in the back of the book where you can chart how long you went without cussing. Start with an hour. Just like lifting weights or doing something new….you have to start small and perfect the thing you are working on.

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