Having few good mottos and mantras are some good practices to live by. I have several, and coming from a broken home where many unkind words were said between my parents, made me cringe as a child and sent nervous butterflies swimming around my stomach. Some people follow suit, mimicking words and actions from what they had heard and seen as they were growing up. But gratefully, I took heed to those things, especially when my sensitivity to hurtful things recognized them as unhealthy patterns to follow.
I’ve always been about kindness and compassion, empathy and pathos. I try my best not to hurt anyone intentionally, I look at life and it’s punches with a glass half full attitude, and I also tend to feel others’ pain when they are hurting. Because of these things, one of my mantras has always been “Do unto others as you wish to be done unto you.” I write a lot about hurtful words and how they have the propensity to stick with us through life, most recently in my latest book, Words We Carry. In my book there is a sentence I wrote, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me, is a fallacy.”
A few months ago, I was at my dentist’s office and as always, I shared some great conversation with my hygienist, Miriam. She is a great fan of my books, and when I saw her that day, Miriam thanked me for some words of wisdom I shared with her. We had been chatting about her recent marriage and all that relationships can entail in the early stages of marriage as two young people acclimatize to one another’s lifestyle habits. We all know that life isn’t always a bowl of cherries and we are bound to have disagreements at times.
Miriam was asking me some questions about when couples disagree and get angry with one another, how to avoid blow-ups, which I had written about in my book and she found very useful. I first reminded her to always count to ten in her head before spewing something out of the moment’s anger, because we can never take those words back. Oh sure we can apologize, but the effect those words leave behind will always remain like a stain engraved in the mind of the one who was slighted.
Words are powerful. We must use them wisely. We talked about my method that I use when I’m ticked at something about my husband, the method she found so useful. I reminded her that in our heated moments, we sometimes forget the love we have for our partners and those can become the dangerous moments where words slip out that can hurt and cannot be taken back. I call it my safe method.
If I find myself upset with something my husband may have said or done and don’t feel at the moment that I can continue a civil conversation without my temper escalating and potentially getting me in regrettable hot water, I stay quiet for a few seconds and then I tell him, “I’m not your friend right now.” And then I exit the room immediately. Sometimes he will keep tailing me and try to make me talk and throw out the “Oh you don’t love me?” card. That is when I reply with: “I love you, but I don’t like you right now, so give me my space.” This always ends the confrontation, gives us the rest of the evening, or sometimes even another day of silence between us, and by then we begin speaking, and can calmly work out our differences without any repercussions or ill feelings for hurtful words that were avoided.
Miriam thanked me for this advice and other things she took from my book and has begun to use it at the appropriate times instead of fighting dirty.I am always so happy when I learn that someone has taken something of value for themselves from my writing and experience. Hence, I love to share my thoughts and practices a lot in all my writing.
We often think the little things we do in daily life are common practice amongst everyone, but that it not always the case. Many people are always looking for helpful hints for situations they may be unaccustomed to or have no prior experience from learning certain things about, particularly because of the environments they were raised in. Perhaps they are shy or inexperienced or didn’t have freedoms or people in their lives to lead good examples in life. One never knows anybody else’s private laundry. So never be afraid to pass on good and helpful information for fear it’s being repeated. Nobody ever suffered from too much kindness.
D.G. Kaye ©2015