Tuesday, June 24, 2008
You Can't Take it Back
You know, more people should put a lot more thought into the things they say. Someone once told me, 'Words are like bullets, once you let them out, you can't take them back,' and people, this is true. I learned about diplomacy when I was 10 years old. My father took me, my aunt Alice and her new grandson out to lunch one day. Thing was, the baby wasn't her grand baby at all. Her son's wife had cheated on him, and everyone in the family was talking about how the baby wasn't my cousin's biological child. So when we sat down to lunch, my aunt held up the baby and said," Doesn't he look just like Ed?" (Her son) I huffed and said, "No, I think he looks like Chris Lavon," (the man her daughter-in-law cheated with) My aunt said nothing, but put the baby back in the car seat. After a few minutes of strained silence, she got up and left the restaurant. My father said, " Erin, do you know what diplomacy means?" I said no. He explained, saying, " You know, you hurt your aunt Alice very much by what you just said. You should always think before you speak, and if what you are thinking may be rude or hurtful, then it is not necessary to go on and say it," I hadn't actually thought before I spoke, and frankly, it had never occurred to me that my words could hurt someone. When I look back on it now, I am horrified, and hope to God that my aunt doesn't remember what I said that day. I learned that lesson very early in life, and make a daily, conscious effort to make sure I choose my words carefully, analyzing my words almost to death, and the impact they may have on the listener. It is easy to do, and I find that I am the better person in many situations, even if I am the only one who knows it. Sometimes I nearly have to bite my tongue completely off to keep my words in, but in the end, I find that this effort is always worth it. If you read this, take a moment think before you speak; If it's not necessary or constructive, then for the love of God, don't say it! I guarantee you, people around you, especially spouses or significant others will love you for it.