The profanity habit

Stop yelling at me!photo © 2010 Ernst Vikne | more info (via: Wylio)
When I first left home and went to live in a college hostel(an all boys hostel), I experienced a very different culture. Apart from living on my own, away from my parents, I experienced something else. Profanity ruled the air. People didn’t call each other just by their names, they used expletives. Some would use the name with an expletive. Others, the purists, would omit the name totally and use only expletives. If I were talking to a group and someone came looking for me, he would just shout out loudly, ‘BC'(short for an Indian slang honoring your sister). Everyone in the group will turn around and will ask which BC was he looking for!

There were some very creative profanity users too. They would not just call someone names, that was just not their style. They looked down upon the regular profanity users with disdain and contempt. They were the ones who could almost make their diatribes sound poetic! People would stop and listen to them when they were calling out to someone. There would be requests to call out again. They were the desired guests of any hostel party, with a lot of demands coming their way, to give a verbal performance.

Not everyone was taking part though. There were those who would not take any part in the profanity business at all.

When new guys joined, they would be shocked to hear their seniors. To gain acceptance, some of them would start using the same kind of language. I too used profanity in the hostel and felt good about it. In time, I realized it was not really helping me and stopped it.

Some of my college batch mates still use it.

Why do people use profanity?

To look macho and to gain acceptance. They are low on confidence. They choose profanity as their route to machoism because they don’t feel so otherwise. A lot of people grow up with a lack of self worth. This could have been caused by a troubled childhood or bad upbringing.

They are also a scared lot. When such people enter college, they are scared and would do anything to merge with the majority rather than stand out alone. When they see profanity as the scale on which their acceptance will be measured, they readily take it up. They might say they enjoy it but their fears dull their ability to differentiate between what they actually enjoy and what they do just for getting accepted.

When they become seniors, they try to instill the same in their juniors by trying to intimidate them, coerce them. There would be some courageous ones, who will not yield. Those juniors will piss our guys off. These guys can’t tolerate them. That’s so because such people remind them of their weakness. They enhance the shame these people have somewhere inside them, a shame they fiercely ignore and deny.

The fearful ones will follow meekly and the same cycle will continue. The courageous ones will find a way out. They will have some difficult in the beginning, may be a lot of it, but they will find their way.

Do they deserve our sympathies?

People who use profanity might have had a troubled childhood. But I don’t pity them, in fact, I don’t pity any human. Having been born into a human life, with a brain to use, I consider all of us capable of about anything. At some point in our lives, as we grow up, we become conscious enough to mould our lives into any direction we want. A person could have had the worst upbringing possible, and still he/she can decide to have a big, magnificent dream and make it into a reality. Just a fierce desire is needed to create something, be something. Don’t believe me? Start digging up on a few big personalities. You can start with a village school teacher’s son named Dhirubhai Ambani. Or you can read up on an African-American boy with a troubled childhood, who was heavily into mugging and petty crimes in New York. His father left his family when he was 2 years old. By age 13, he had been arrested 38 times. He would have looked no different than scores of others of his kind, doomed for a wasted life of crime. His name was Mike Tyson. I am sure you can find a lot of others.

We humans have the gift of desire, of creating a fire inside ourselves for something. This fire decides the direction our lives take.

Why not to use profanity?

You might say it feels good. You might say you use it with only those who like it themselves. You might say your friends don’t mind being called names and that you don’t really mean it when you say it. They know you don’t mean it. When it is fun for all, why not do it?

You just need to look at yourself from a higher plane to see the holes in this logic. What are you doing actually by not meaning what you say? You are negating your own authority to yourself. You are telling yourself that you don’t mean what you say. You are constantly, day after day, reinforcing this idea in your mind. For a day or two, this may not matter. But over a period of years, your sub conscious will pick up the cue and start believing in it. That is how the mind operates, it picks up anything that it is fed constantly. That’s why they have ads to make people buy things.

If you look at it, what is happening here and the idea of a burning desire are the same things. Your mind starts acting on what it is regularly fed. So by saying something you don’t mean, you are reducing your own power and authority over your life. How stupid is that!

To create the life of your dreams, you need a lot of authority. Authority not over others, but over your self. You have to know that whatever you say, and do, and decide, carries weight. That you are serious in all your efforts and endeavors.

How to get rid of this habit?

Just create the desire to loose it! Here is something that can help.

Focus on your dream life. Let’s assume you are given a wish. Anything that you imagine, will come to be. Now imagine your dream life. Don’t be scared to dream big. Dream you best dream. Don’t just think of a good life, think of the best life. What is it like? What do you do? What kind of people are you associating with? Does it involve people who are calling you names?

If your dream life doesn’t have you and others around you using profanity, you will see clearly you don’t need it now. If you imagine vividly enough, you will witness the birth of a desire to leave behind all that is unnecessary and contrary to your dream life.

The truth is, you indeed have been granted this wish. Anything you will imagine vividly, over and over, will come to be :)


Love and friendship grow stronger and deeper with trust and respect. And these feelings prosper when friends know that they can expect each other to be truthful and genuine, always. There are better ways to challenge your friends than to call them names and expect them to come up with better ones. Rather than feeling threatened all the time, and maintaining shallow connections where you have an environment of mistrust, insecurity and negativity, focus on cultivating genuine, deep connection in which both of you grow and feel positive. Be honest and respectful in your relationships.


  • February 13, 2011 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

    This is a very good article. Right from start till the end. Nicely carried thoughts and well written. Almost everyone would have in someway or the other undergone this feeling at some point. Good work!!


    • Rahul
      February 13, 2011 - 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Glad you like it Ravindra.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    CommentLuv badge