Learning to be wise with words

Lady with megaphone causes two men to put hands on ears

I pride myself on being honest and saying what I think. I don’t want to change that aspect of who I am. That being said, I have learnt that it is very important to be careful in both what I say, and how I say it.

What I Say

I’ve found it’s important to have a filter on what I say. Sometimes people really don’t need to hear what’s going on in my head. It won’t benefit them in any way, it might even hurt them. It’s not because I think hurtful things, it’s more that people will (often quite reasonably) read more into what I’m saying than what I mean. 

Here’s a good example. I notice when people aren’t wearing make-up. Part of me wants to say, “Oh you aren’t wearing make-up today”. I wouldn’t mean anything by that. Except that’s not what the other person is going to hear. They are going to hear, “You should be wearing make-up”. People aren’t always going to hear what I mean. So sometimes I should really just keep my big mouth shut.

How I Say It

I’ve also found it’s really important to manage how I say things.

Have you ever met someone who’s really intense, and they don’t even seem to realise it? Sometimes I think that might be me. It’s not ALL the time, but some contexts bring out a lot of strong emotions in me. In those conversations I can become really forceful without realising it. I sound the same in my head, but to other people my words sound like things I don’t mean because of the emotion in them.

This can cause an arms race between me and the other person where we each raise our intensity to match the other. In the end, the conversation becomes unsustainable and collapses. A much better way of handling this would be for me to bring the intensity of the conversation down. To stay calm and draw the other person into a softer conversation. 

I still need to do a bit of work on understanding what to say and how to say it, but I’m confident that I’ll get there.

Tagged in what messes with your head