Reflection time: Tonight I had a conversation with someone that caused me to come home, sit in the quiet and think. Almost always, quiet and thinking doesn’t usually work out well for me. Ask those that are closest to me; they will tell you that I am never satisfied until I have an answer. Even if the questions or thoughts do not have any answers.
Tonight I was thinking about our words. I am a firm believer that our words can hurt or they can heal. Up until tonight I thought that I could walk confidently in knowing that I always think about what I say so that I don’t hurt people with my words. If I am having a disagreement with someone I am very cautious in the words I choose and never call anyone names. You can not take your words back.They are forever out there, and name calling quite frankly is childish, and causes a lot of damage. I remember words my parents said to me as a child. They still stick with me today and have a great affect on my life and how I view myself.
Recently I had told my oldest son that “we” need to think about what we are saying before we say it to make sure that there isn’t any miscommunication between you and the person you’re speaking to. I’m not one that likes to “beat around the bush”, especially when the direct path is so much quicker to get through. 😉 I like to believe I think about what I am going to say before I say it.
While I sat in the quiet and let my mind do what it does, I discovered something about myself that I am not really proud of. I thought all this time I was a great example of being careful about what I say, when actually I am not. I have all kinds of excuses. “I’m Italian”. “I was angry, and didn’t mean it literally”. “It was a joke”……
The fact of the matter is this. “For whatever is in your heart, determines what you say”. (Matthew 12:34 NLT). I have said something over and over again, sometimes to that person, and sometimes just in conversation with others. In my head I was justified. “They” provoked me. In this particular situation I didn’t really mean it, I just wanted to get a point across.
I want to defend myself in this situation. I want to explain why I have said what I said. That while I truly didn’t mean the words I said about this person, the damage has been done and I can not take them back.
What can I do to “fix” this? The only thing I know to do. Stop doing it! Practice what I preach. Think about the words I am going to spew out and decide if they are helpful or hurtful. Then and only then will I not have to worry about miscommunication or having to ask for forgiveness because I was careless and impulsive.
Tonight I learned that while I preach one thing I do not practice it. Tonight I realize that I can no longer use ignorance as an excuse. When you know better you do better. Here’s to doing better!
As I read Karen’s reflection, I am reminded of when my daughter was in the 3rd grade and having girl drama. I thought I had until high school before that became a problem, or at minimum junior high school. But this was the 3rd grade and girls were being very mean. I spoke to her teacher and the principal and even checked books out of the library. At such a young age it is hard to teach a lesson on something I considered very adult. But as I struggled to help her deal with the drama, it all boiled down to something pretty simple, don’t say anything you will regret. I explained to my daughter that words are powerful and can leave lasting damage. That what she was feeling because of what others said to and about her, was lasting. And more importantly she doesn’t want to be the cause of others feeling the way she did right then. One of the things my daughter loves to say back to me is, ” I know mom, treat others as I want to be treated”. Smart girl
Even more to Karen’s point, my daughter came to me not too long ago very upset. She explained that the dog at her dad’s house had died. She really didn’t like the dog at all, so I was surprised she was so upset. She then shared with me, that she had wished the dog would die so she didn’t have to feed it and clean up after it, because it wasn’t her dog and she didn’t like the dog so why should she have to take care of it? So she was really struggling feeling like she caused the dog to die by wishing it was so.
We often say things that we think or feel, are no big deal. We don’t really mean them, we are just joking, etc. However remember to the person or people who might hear those words, they have meaning, instill fear, change opinions. We cannot un-say things so we must stop before we speak and think of how it would sound on the hearing end..
I know I am not the only person who at some point has wished ill on another person. Ugh if that person were not around my life would be so much easier, better, quieter etc. So what if after we “wished” “thought” or “said” that, the person became ill, hurt or worse yet died? Would we really feel better? or would we feel worse, guilty, ashamed?
Remember words do hurt, not only the person we say them about, but the people we say them to and ultimately ourselves.
Karen and I will be more conscious of what we are saying. We will try harder to think before we speak not after. Will you join us?