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?