We have two types of people in the world… those who squeeze the tube of toothpaste from the middle and those who do so from the end… I am not sure what toe of person you are but this blog post impacts both groups equally. It also has more to do with words than toothpaste…
We had students empty an entire tube of toothpaste onto a plate within a certain amount of seconds to win a prize.. the prize was a set up more than a win… Once the students emptied their tube onto the plate we challenged them to put in all back… After a messy couple of minutes the students determined it wasn’t possible with the tools given to replace the contents once we squeezed them out…
It was a simple illustration about words.. We say so many things during a day.. some uplifting and encouraging other times they hurt and discourage.. No matter what they are we can’t put them back into our mouths.
The same is often truer with our ability to text, Facebook (though you can edit if caught in time) instagram, tweeting etc… We will rattle off some comments or words not thinking how the words will be received or translated to the person reading them.
Don’t think this applies to you? Well check these real life examples out…
1. Someone is talking about others negatively around you.. you listen and begin to echo their words….
2. You post a blanket comment on twitter about someone you dislike.. but that person doesn’t read it, your friends do…
3. You text a picture of something you shouldn’t to a friend.. only to have it circulate the school or work place in 5 minutes flat…
4. You are posting song lyrics to your Facebook about drinking or other negative behaviors you don’t even participate in and your parents ask you about them or a future employer does…
I am sure this could be a much longer list but the point is we are a culture of people who really don’t stop to think about what we are saying and to whom we are saying it to. We need to make better use of our words..
Take a few minutes to think about these suggestions prior to posting, texting or speaking:
1 What is the driving emotion behind the comment?
2. Who will hear these words?
3. How will these words effect or impact others?
4. How can these words be misinterpreted by others?
5. What am I saying? will it come back to haunt me later?
6. Would the world be a better place if I just keep quiet?
Unfortunately, way to often we find ourselves regretting the words we said because of the damage it caused to those around us. I know we wish we could take them back, make everything back to normal but we can’t. We also must realize things will be different as a result of the words we said.
As I grow older, the idea of my words being fewer is something I long for.. I hope to say words that always help others and brighten the day and when I need to say words that are harder to hear, I hope to say them in a way I would like to receive them if I was in their shoes.
I hope we can all move to being more intentional about thinking through the things we say, post or tweet in the future.
Live with no regrets starts with saying without regret