Our words have a way of getting the best of us. It is easy to say things we don’t mean and even easier to say things we do mean in the wrong way. American’s thrive on gossip – it is part of why celebrities stay so famous. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again..and again..and again. Choose your words carefully.
I’m not telling you that you have to be Miss Positive Statements Only. I just want you to hear the things you are thinking about saying BEFORE you say them. Especially when they are about someone else. Would you want someone saying the same thing about you? If you are about to speak about someone who isn’t present – would you say the words you are about to speak if they were standing right in front of you? If the answer to those things are no, then I highly encourage you to use restraint.
It has been said that your thoughts become your words, and your words become your actions. If you are thinking hurtful or rude things it is only a matter of time before you are saying them. If you are saying hurtful and rude things it is only a matter of time before you are doing them. If you are doing hurtful and rude things – then you aren’t living up to the person your mom knows you are able to be.
Listen to your own words in your head – see how they sound to your ears – revise if necessary – then speak.
Here you are having a chat with dad at the Pumpkin Patch this fall.
Since you are my daughter (and also your father’s daughter for that matter) I’m sure we will have many discussions about HOW to say things the right way. “Yes Mom” with a smile means a little something different than “Yes Mom” with an eye roll and a sigh.
You need to realize that life isn’t all about what we say. I agree that you should certainly choose your words carefully. Foul language doesn’t sound good coming from anyone. Rumors, lies, and mocking words can make direct blows to your relationships. However, even saying something nice in the wrong tone can really limit the strength of the words you have chosen.
Times that you particularly need to be watchful of this effect are when you are feeling hurt, angry, and sometimes even sad. Yelling has a time and place. If I am about to do something life threatening without realizing it, I certainly want you to yell a warning to me. That is the point of yelling, to grab someone’s immediate attention–to make them hesitate. However if you go around yelling all the time, whenever you get upset, soon your yelling is not only less effective..all the words you say lose their meaning behind your noisy front. The same goes for whining, mumbling, and even talking really fast (which I often do). All of those tones and speeds we use when talk reflect on what we are saying. They all serve a purpose but you need to be choosy in how you use them.
Before you speak–especially in less than calm situations–I want you to hear in your head how your words are going to sound. Are you nervous? Take a deep breath so you can speak slowly and clearly and be understood. Are you angry? Not only is it important to not say words you will regret, its important to speak the ones you choose as clearly and directly as possible. Do you need something? Can you make the request without dragging out the end of your words in a whiney tone?
I hear it on play grounds everywhere from parents of kids of all ages “Say you’re sorry” and I thoroughly believe that saying you are sorry is a skill everyone needs to practice. I also believe that the words can only take you so far. If you push a child down on the play ground, say you are sorry, then three minutes later purposely do it again–the words you used to apologize aren’t worth the breath they were spoken with.
Sorry is a powerful word when used correctly and you don’t need to feel guilty for your actions for your entire life. However, you do need to know that the more words you speak without actions to back them up–the less value your words and apologies will ever have. If you push a kid on the play ground and he falls, you should say you are are sorry, and then don’t do it again. As a matter of fact, if the kid falls down later you should offer him a hand to get back up with. Your actions just backed up your apology. In short, your actions give meaning to your words.
For the most part, people will forgive you when you say you are sorry–but it doesn’t mean they forget what you did. Sorry means that you realize you made a mistake and you don’t intend to do it again. I’m tired of a world of empty apologies and empty words. Pick your words carefully, admit your mistakes, and use your actions to give your words value and power—it will take you far!