The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong
Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections
What is the language in our mind? An unfiltered subway or metro full of thoughts and corresponding emotions at such a high speed, that I like to think we have the ability to pull the emergency bar when one resonates with us the most. Why can’t we pull that bar when we’re about to say something that makes someone else uncomfortable?
People say things without thinking and tend not to factor in how another person would endure the comment. I mean, how can we understand certain struggles we haven’t faced? Still, I wonder if that’s really a valid reason. Having said that, I have been massively guilty of blurting out inane thoughts, but the only way I can preach it, is if I’ve lived it. Some of the things I’ve said have had no filter and even though I didn’t mean to sound a certain way, people sure thought I was that way. We aren’t always what we speak, but the world won’t necessarily view it that manner, which is why it’s important to think before you speak. Gawd, now I feel like I sound like my mother but it’s so true. Mom? Are you reading this? Please don’t gloat.
One good way to figure out what your filtration system is all about, is to inquire. If you’re lucky like me, then a good friend will tell you. Ask your friends or family if your manner of speaking is off color. I have a feeling you’ll get a reluctant admission or two followed by the explanation that your unwarranted sentiments are often overlooked because the people in your life love you, or they know you don’t mean malice. Chances are there’s always something and even if your family and friends shrug it off as one of the things they can set aside, others may not. Especially people that you work with or may be acquainted with.
My mind used to be like that subway. I would have a surfeit of thoughts pummeling though it and out they came, no brakes, just the way they were in my head and for the longest time I thought that was cool. I’m just being me I would think, shrugging. If people don’t like it then they don’t like it, until my good friend shook some sense into me. I quickly realized that I’m not enhancing my personality if I don’t come to a halt, stop, and think about what comes out of my mouth. I’m actually causing damage.
Yet, many, many people fail to understand that words are powerful beyond measure. So stop for a second and think if that thought of yours, the way it sounds in your perfect head, is going to come out in the same language and tone as in your mind. Ask: is your language and tone in sync with the person you are speaking with? That’s an entire rebooting of a process of thought.
I can’t stand when someone makes comments about weight. I think it’s one of those things, like finances where it’s just no ones damn business. I don’t want to know if you think my butt is big or small, if my arms are bigger or skinner or if I look skinny or have gained five extra pounds. Also, it’s usually the people that could benefit from a gym membership that say those kinds of things anyway. In my head I’m frowning and going, really? Have you looked in the mirror?
I had dated one guy in the summer that was much older than I was and he would go on and on about how he liked tall, skinny women. He looked me up and down and told me that there’s always room for improvement. I stared at him like the alien that he was and asked what he was doing about the baby turkey in his stomach, the Amazonian jungle of nose hairs and the fact that he was crossing the precipice of geriatrics. Yes. That’s the response you’re going to get when you tell a woman that’s curvy that you prefer her to be a twig. Needless to say, he’s no longer in my phonebook. Think before speaking.
Another fine example occurred when I was at a dinner and people automatically assumed that because I was a blogger and glam, (proudly so) I was dumb. No one knew that I was bullied so badly at school, I would go home and study harder for the classes I missed because I was scared of being beaten up by girls in the bathroom. Reading kept me sane, learning the art of conversation kept me challenged and absorbing information like a sponge gave me somewhat of a photographic memory, especially with numbers. But I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been close to tears when people rubbed their degrees in my face because I didn’t have a PhD or an MBA like them. The same occurred when I dated a guy that said: I can’t date a woman that’s smarter than me, so maybe you can dumb it down in front of my friends. The. List. Goes. On. Think before you speak. So whatever comment you have, stop for a second before you make it. Whether it’s on age, your personal unwanted views or just about anything that floats through your head, because when you hurt another person, you’re being ignorant, clueless and unkind.
The language in our mind is the most influential tool we own. It allows us the presceince of forumating prose in a pleasing manner. My mother, again, used to say that your tongue could make you a prince or a pauper.
She’s totally gloating now. If you know that you have a tendency to get too comfortable with anyone because they make it easy to converse, this doesn’t meant they are open for interpretation. It just means they’re personable. Full stop. There has to be some sort of awareness of cultivating the preset of stopping to think about what is going to come out of your mouth. Maybe somewhere between when a thought spirals from the brain right to the tip of the tongue? Right? Maybe?
I’m no therapist, but general knowledge has taught me that you just have to slow down a bit, understand who’s in front of you and ask five questions.
Is what I am about to say appropriate?
Is what I am about to say hurtful?
Is what I am about to say relevant or beneficial to the other person standing in front of me?
Is what I am about to say unsolicited?
Is what I am about to say in tune with my own value structure?
You’re going to screw up a lot more than you get it right, especially in the beginning but the awareness will be there and eventually, you’ll stop and recognize that your unfiltered or offensive words are not helping anyone. It’s different if someone asks you for their opinion and totally out of line if you just give it to them. Also, there’s nothing wrong with politely letting them know that difference otherwise they’re going to keep on doing it.
I’ve stopped and asked a person that had said something totally unpleasant, in the nicest of ways, why would you say that? In most cases I found that they really weren’t aware of what they meant and how they said it. It was simply the fumbled jargon in their head, regurgitated into a puke bag of harmlessness. On the flip side, when people have meant it I wonder what’s happened in their darn day to propel all the negativity. Usually its something, it really is. As hurt as I’ve been, I’ve always, always tried to have the empathy to understand where comments like that come from. I usually do this with the people that I know well. Admittedly, I have minimal patience for strangers and those that I am less acquainted with.
I’ve also noticed something really interesting in this whole process. When I stopped loosening my verbal filter, I started meeting like-minded individuals and I didn’t encounter unwarranted comments as much. I do get them now and then like the other day when a man commented on my butt, but for the most part I get happy conversations.
Four words will change the entire molecular structure of the energy that surrounds you. Think before you speak. (Or type)