When you speak, be sure your words are tasty and sweet, not bitter; lest you have to eat them someday.
I’m not sure if someone’s already quoted this line before. It sounds pretty much common sense to me. But I’m assuming so anyway by not taking credit; just to be safe.
Anyhow, lately, I’ve been feeling the impact of this simple but profound admonition. I’m not going to list the details now. I just want to express myself at this moment by saying… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve uttered things out of haste and frustration just to look back disgraced over what I’ve said. Nope, no one’s judging me, I don’t think.
No one but myself anyway.
Oh, don’t you just love it when you realize your behavior is suddenly the exact same way you hate it in others? It’s terrible. It’s like a trap. Like you’ve set out to win no matter what, and then all of a sudden, you lose. Miserably. Like shooting yourself in the foot, I guess. It happens, and there’s no easy way out.
This year I’ve been a bit more conscious of the way I talk to people. The way I establish contact… with my family, my friends, the grocery cashier, anyone. Even at work, in fact. When I communicate with co-workers, when speaking at a conference meeting or on the phone with whomever. When simply making eye contact, or composing emails, letters and… ahem, posting a blog! It’s not that I’ve lost it or anything. I’m just trying to re-assess my people skills. It’s more than just a professional gesture, I think, Sure, there are things I dislike about some folks, and it mostly pertains to their demeanor, the tone of their voice and their choice of words when they speak. I’m not saying I possess the scroll that reveals the proper way to act respectably. This only applies to me. Maybe because I’m a little tender in some ways? And need a little tlc, perhaps? Ha! But I sometimes find myself unconsciously expecting more of others than I do myself. And that… that bugs the daylights out of me. After the fog clears up, that is.
I think it’s important to always be aware of your aura around human beings. As tough as it is to do so consistently. Whether they’re the closest person in your life or a complete stranger, there needs to be an uninterrupted flow of respect at all times. It’s a science and an art that I’ve been trying to master for as long as I can remember. But no matter how long it’s been, I always discover there’s so much more to learn. Or re-learn, for that matter.
I have heard over and over that respect is suppose to be earned. To a degree, I believe it. But then I thought, we’re human beings. Prone to greed and naturally hungry for control or power in one way or another. Morally speaking, if something has to be earned, it becomes a thing of value. For purposes of trade or exchange, that is. Like money and stuff. Y’know, like working to earn a living? You know what I mean. Anyhow… and so, we all say, I want some. And then, I want more. Sooner or later, I want it all. Now! Suddenly, it becomes an object of individual desire. Everybody works hard for it. Terribly hard! And that’s when the idea of respect gets caught in the crossfire of good and bad intentions. Respect now becomes a job. A chore. Think about this for a moment…
Respect is earned, but…
Redemption is… currently on sale! Cheap! Limited time only! Hurry!
I hate being sarcastic.
And going off on a tangent.
Now, where was I?
It’s difficult for me to bring it up again but I have to constantly face the truth; that the failure of my marriage is partly due to my inability to maintain respect when it’s most needed. When your emotions get the best of you, for whatever reason, it matters not what you instinctively know to be right or wrong, all you see is either the person you have locked up and has somehow managed to escape or the one you never even knew ever existed. In my case, it was the latter. Because I am not one to display physical manifestations (oh please, not the door slamming again), I tend to be swayed by having to defend myself either through the blurting of foolish words I don’t really mean or, for the most part, with complete and deafening silence (Ooh, this one’s the rusty jagged-edged blade you don’t want to feel, trust me. I can be silent for months on end without breaking a sweat). I have learned since that neither of these demonstrate respect. Well, duh! But it’s almost impossible to see at the time.
I’ve experienced that, much like an elephant can be startled by the presence of a tiny mouse, there are times in life when your desire, faith and confidence can easily be disabled, disarmed, surrendered, and without notice, by a single person’s action or circumstance. It’s so easy to lose yourself. To forget who you are. To forget who people are. And more importantly, to forget what you believe in and stand for. Integrity disintegrated. All these things you’ve worked all your life to gain… gone in sixty seconds. Literally, sometimes.
Uhh, such a rude awakening!