I was thumbing through some Sumerian texts over the weekend and came across the following words of wisdom from Šuppurag to his son, Ziusudra, who was listed as the last king of Sumer before the deluge:
You should not speak improperly; later it will lay a trap for you.
I hadn’t thought about it this way before, but the analogy makes sense and I’ve certainly seen this play out in my life a time or two in the past. Speaking improperly ﹣ criticizing another behind her back or anonymously, cursing, jumping to conclusions, using a sharp or critical tone unnecessarily, etc. ﹣ become traps about which you have to be concerned in the future.
Those traps, which are meant to ensnare others, can trap you too, once set! They are indiscriminate in this regard. A bear trap cares not weather it snaps shut on the leg of a wolf, sheep or bear. The traps you set with hastily prepared words or words hotly spoken can seize upon you just as easily as they might another.
Take care with your words. Speak carefully, properly, with dignity and empathy. Otherwise, you create your own minefield!