When those words were spoken to me by a teacher of mine that I truly respect, they pierced my soul like a swift blade making a sharp, poignant entry.
They haven’t yet made their exit as I reflect on the truth of what she said.
Once I recovered from the initial blow and embarrassment, I began to look more objectively at how I was relating to the people in my life and the effect I was having.
I noticed how unconsciously my thoughts and responses flowed from my brain, out of my mouth. Without much thought, I spoke from a reactive place, not considering how my words might impact the person to whom I am speaking. Then I wonder why their jaw has dropped, or why do I have to pick them up off the floor? Why can’t I get what I want? Why aren’t they listening to me?
The day after I began writing this, I walked into the kitchen in the morning to make a cup of coffee. My housemate was there, cooking kale and garlic and, granted it was 7:30am, but I began telling her how offensive the smell of garlic was that early in the morning and why couldn’t she cook her breakfast in the downstairs kitchen. I did not have any attention on her or how she would feel about my tirade. After the words rolled out of my mouth, I looked up at her face and I wished I could take them back and start all over again. What a way to start the day! There are so many other ways I could have handled the situation, like saying good morning first, maybe telling her that I am glad she was making a healthy meal and go downstairs myself to make my coffee. I could have stopped a minute and thought about my words before they came tumbling out.
I thought about the times I have totally disabled the men in my life by not thinking about what I was saying. One negative comment, (you want that?) even a look (furrowed brows) has turned a potential good time into a losing situation. I have learned that I do not have to say everything that I am thinking—I can afford to stop a minute to think about the words I choose and the effect that I may have based on those choices.
As my teacher pointed out, those thoughtless moments are mean and who, after all, is pretty enough to get away with that? I have since realized those words could be spoken to all women because we all have the potential of being mean. It’s a choice we all make from moment to moment.
What choices will you make?
Carol Sue Young has many years of experience studying and researching modern relationships, sensuality, sexuality, communication and living in groups. Her passion is helping others navigate these waters. She loves talking to people about their lives, goals and dreams and exploring what’s possible. Connect with Carol on www.carolsueyoung.com.
Editor: Malin Bergman
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