Does Cursing Cause Harm?

How often do you curse and do you feel bad about it when you do?

I suppose your answers to this question will all differ depending on age, job, living situations, etc. For example, my friend the teacher in the suburbs of NY will probably curse a lot less than my friend working at the high-stress PR agency in NYC.

In The 8 Limbs of Yoga: Pathway to Liberation, Bhava Ram expresses that cursing is a form of hisma, or violence. There for, if you curse you are violating the first of the yamas: ahisma.

It’s difficult for me to stop cursing, and it’s gotten me in trouble at least once recently at work, but I still don’t think it’s harmful. Words are just words, but on the other hand, words are extremely powerful, which is why we have to choose them wisely and carefully, saying only what we mean and meaning what we say.

Curse words just flow out my mouth, unconsciously not caring what they mean or who they’ll affect. I suppose they can be harsh and bring some extremism to our language.

Why don’t we curse in front of children? To keep their pure, innocent ears pure and innocent. But the world is harsh and occasionally uncaring, so eventually they will hear the curse words and start to use those words themselves. Think about your own journey and when you began to curse.

I remember when I first asked my mom about curse words I was young, probably in middle school, we were in the car and she explained to me that a bitch is a female dog and the f word basically means sex. I couldn’t understand why people used them so frequently and out of context. I’m still not sure how these words became “curse words” and what makes these words so terrible. I think that’s why I still use them today so blasé.

Some of my new goals are to live my life with ahisma and satya (non-violence and truth), but I’m still not sure where I stand on cursing. I’m trying to cut down, but I think it’s become such an acceptable part of our society I’ve yet to find a good reason to stop.

If you’ve never heard of Gretchen Rubin, I highly recommend you check out her website or any of her books! My point in bringing her up is that she created this fantastic quiz to help people figure out what motivates them. I am a Questioner, which means I need to have answers and logic and reason behind what I’m doing. I have yet to determine in my mind that cursing is bad, so that’s why I keep doing it. I do not believe cursing causes harm, but somehow I can still understand how some people do. It’s why I am able to sensor myself around children and others who may not abide by the same rules and logic I do.

So, how do you feel about cursing? Is it harmful, causing hisma? Or is it just words in the English language with meanings of their own, even if we don’t use them in that context anymore? Let me know in the comments below, let’s start a conversation.


1 thought on “Does Cursing Cause Harm?”

  1. You probably figured I would comment on this one! I don’t know why but hearing someone swear just because really rubs me wrong. Believe me, I do my share of swearing and have been since being a kid–maybe about 13. But when I do, I’m either very angry or enthusiastically trying to make a point. And when I hear someone else cursing when really mad, I have no problem. But hearing someone say “f-ing happy” instead of “really happy” or “lots of shit” instead of “lots of stuff “—well, that’s what hurts my ears and what I find unnecessary. Words are incredibly powerful and really let people know who you are. You never know who’s listening and the part they might play in your life…


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