Tool For Tuesday: Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say. And Don’t Say It Meanly.

Last week’s Tool for Tuesday was making sure our actions match our words. That segues into today’s tool which can help us live our best chapter:

Say what you mean. Mean what you say. And don’t say it meanly.

I was a real pushover for most of my life. I didn’t care what I had to do as long as I could get people to love me. I was horrified at saying no. The worst thing someone could call me was selfish. I didn’t mind being a doormat if it meant having people’s approval.

Learning that no was a complete sentence came hard to me. No? No! No. I was so scared that if I refused to do something for people, they’d be angry at me and that meant falling into a lonely precipice where I’d lost their love.

Once I recognized why I was doing what I was doing, I went to the other extreme. I was so pumped up with new power that when I said no, I practically shouted it. Maybe I was afraid my “no” wouldn’t taken seriously so I went on and on with my reasons. Sometimes I wasn’t nice at all. I was like a new convert to a religion who gets extreme for a while before gaining enough confidence to be moderate.

These days, I can say what I mean in a polite way. I don’t complain and I don’t explain. I don’t have to “speak my mind” the way I did in the past because I’ve learned that a lot is better off unsaid. And I’m no longer talking myself blue in the face to get other people to change their behavior or ideas. “You cannot change anyone except yourself,” the woman named Peace Pilgrim said. “After you have become an example, you can inspire others to change themselves.”

After, “don’t say it meanly,” I also ask myself, “Does it have to be said by me? Does it have to be said by me now? Does it have to be said at all?”

How do you say what you mean? Are there any tools you use?

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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1 Response to Tool For Tuesday: Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say. And Don’t Say It Meanly.

  1. Hi Diana,
    Say what you mean. Mean what you say…..I’m always into that. Thankyou for sharing this
    be good to yourself

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