Something has been in the back of my mind for a while. It’s about the words that people say. Words are funny things – they have different meanings depending on tone, different meanings depending on who says them, different meanings based on where the recipient is in their head. What sounds perfectly reasonable to one person is completely irrational to someone else. Is that right? Not necessarily. A speaker can’t be responsible for controlling where the recipient is in their head, but a speaker can be cognizant of the words they use and how they could be received. On the flip side, a recipient may need to consider the underlying message or thought behind the words. It’s up to both parties to be aware.
Words spoken in anger or disappointment can hurt – even if that’s not the intention. Words spoken with the wrong tone can hurt. Even words said sweetly can hurt if the words themselves aren’t right. Words spoken with contradictory actions leave the recipient wondering what is true. Actions speak louder than words, but actions are diminished if the words don’t match.
One of the things I am working on this year is patience. For those who know me, patience is not one of my strengths. I tend to want things done immediately and to the highest standard possible. This is difficult for me to convey without being frustrated when things don’t happen the way I want them to. Working on this is going to be a struggle – I know this. Add in a busy schedule, two little kids with busy schedules, as well as the number of distractions that are in today’s society and you can see that being patient is larger than just taking the time to breathe or count to 10 or relax.
I am trying to be patient with my words and actions. I am trying to consider the impact that my word choice and tone has on others. I’m trying to pause in important conversations to seek the truly right word or phrase. Too often, I speak before I think – or rather, I’ve thought, but my brain has moved on to the next thing and my mouth is trying to catch up.
I’m also trying to make sure my words and actions match. I don’t want to send contradictory messages. If I say I am going to do something, I’m going to do it. I don’t want to over-commit, but I want to make sure I follow through on those things I have agreed to.
It’s daunting to think that the words you speak (or write) can influence more than just yourself. Those words travel throughout time and space to impact those around you or those you don’t even know. Take the time to consider your words. I know I will.