Have you ever had that moment when you’ve said something and you wish you hadn’t?
You catch a glimpse of the person you’re talking to and you can see the hurt in their eyes.
I have. It’s easy to do.
There’s a children’s playground saying: ‘sticks and stones won’t break my bones, but words will never hurt me’.
Rubbish, isn’t it?
Our words can cut someone down in a second. My husband once told me that my criticism felt like a knife in his heart. OUCH!
Words can also build up.
I love this quote from the Bible: ‘Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)
So how can we ensure that our words communicate love when we’re talking to our partner?
The trouble is that once our words are out of our mouths we can’t take them back, much as I’d like to retract the critical things I’ve said to my husband!
The best way is to train oursleves to THINK. Instead of reacting, learn to respond, putting a ‘filter’ on what we say.
If we ‘THINK’ before we speak then our words will communicate love:
T — truthful - lies are obviously not good, although some people would say there’s such a thing as ‘white lies’, things that aren’t quite true, but we say them because we want to be loving. Personally I would prefer the truth, spoken with tact, that a ‘white lie’. I feel respected when I hear the truth. Exaggeration or minimisation is also not truthful. It may be tricky, but honesty is the best policy.
H — helpful - do my words benefit the person hearing them? If they don’t benefit, build up, encourage then they aren’t helpful and it might be best not to say anything at all. I find this a challenge, because I have a critical streak and I’m continually learning to edit what I say, so that it’s helpful.
I — inspiring — words that inspire will motivate, excite, stimulate and encourage a person. This week I heard the expression: encouragement is like verbal sunshine. I love that! Spread some sunbeams today…
N — necessary - many of us feel an internal pressure to say something whenever we’re with someone and, of course, in general conversation it would be rude to be completely quiet. But are we perhaps quick to rush in with platitudes, do we engage in banal chatter when it might be better to hold back? Is what we are saying necessary? Silence can provide space for our loved one to think and say what’s on their mind. Being silent, listening can be real acts of love.
K — kind — kindness is underrated, it’s generous and considerate of others. Kind words are loving words.
This week try to ‘think’ before you speak and see the difference it makes.
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