How many times have you wished you could have said it differently!
It’s the way we say something that makes all the difference.
One book I enjoyed over the summer was Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. She made a list of her own personal twelve commandments. Two stood out for me:
Act the way I want to feel.
There is only love.
We always know when we are not behaving as we ought but we tend to forget that it is those we love most who get the backlash of our frustrations.
I made a commandment for myself. Just say it sweetly.
I need to say what I must (not always what I feel). As long as I can say it sweetly, I can’t go very wrong. Of course, any amount of sweetness will not nullify the effect of, “If you get that sum wrong for the twentieth time I’m going to lay my head into the nearest wall!” So this does get tempered with a reasonable amount of common sense! That is, there are thoughts that simply mustn’t be said or indicated at all!
“Honey, you must make your bed before you come down,” genially, rather than,”For the hundredth time, make your darn bed before you show up!” makes me a happier person, which perpetuates a happier atmosphere. It’s possible to say, “No, darling, you absolutely cannot have any more ice-cream.” I can pleasantly take that wanting bowl with a smile from my sugar-overloaded child and avert a tantrum (or at least be emotionally strengthened to weather the coming storm)! In doing so, I have just established my responsibility as a caring parent. I’ve removed myself from the role of whimsical indulgence or despotic authoritarianism and made room for my child to be more accepting of the needed boundaries. (Naturally the boundary stays whether accepted or not, but at least I’m not part of the meltdown!) When I’m tired, I can become snappish, irritated and ineffective. That’s when I most need to stay on (sweet) guard!
I Corinthians 13 says,”Love is not rude…Love is kind.” Truth does not have to be rude. It may need to be firm but can still be kind. We are adjusting back to routine after three months of living on the fly! This commandment is saving me! For one, my voice is not as hoarse as it would normally be. Secondly, I am not as stressed. Thirdly, sweetness is much more effective!
By the way, if you haven’t read Gretchen Rubin’s book, you ought to! She is real, practical and inspiring.
This video of hers is beautiful and will only reinforce the necessity to “say it sweetly” because The days are long but the years are short. Let life get sweeter!
If it can’t be said sweetly, it’s probably not worth voicing!