I’ve been bombarded lately with a lot of issues revolving around “Saying what you mean”.
Friends who’ve come to me because someone is saying one thing to them, turning around and doing something else.
I’ve had someone pull it on me, too.
And it got me thinking.
(yeah, yeah, dangerous, where’s the smoke, I can hear the gears squealing…)
I used to fly off the handle over little things. All. The. Time.
Someone would say something, I’d take it not just personally, but critically, and I’d explode instantly, raining fire and brimstone all over – not just the person who hurt me, but myself and anyone else within the vicinity.
The fallout parties were spectacular in their awfulness.
And I’d get a reply from the other person like “I didn’t mean it like that, you took it the wrong way.”
I didn’t care, it hurt, so I would lash out and try to hurt them back, whether they deserved it or not. And the other people who were near me would get hurt, because I was cranky, so I’d lash out at them too, and they almost certainly didn’t deserve it.
It was almost sociopathic. Almost like a wounded animal, backed into a corner, would tear you to pieces whether you were trying to help or not. Didn’t matter back then.
But I learned.
I grew up.
And now, after dealing with broken promises to my children from their paternal gene donor for years, I came to a conclusion.
Don’t let your mouth write checks you aren’t willing – or able – to cash.
If you can’t back up your words with honest action, then your words don’t mean anything. I’m not saying that it’ll always work out. I’m not that naive. Sometimes, life just doesn’t let you keep promises, or fulfill actions. Things get in the way. I understand that.
But then, you need to own up to what’s happened. And it needs to not be some lame-assed excuse, or fake, hypocritical, outright lie.
And if it happens too often, I’ll know you’re full of it, and stop believing what you say. “Crying wolf” is not cute.
I’m not perfect. I know this. I still make mistakes, just like everybody.
But I also know that I don’t say things I don’t mean.
I stop and think before I open my mouth. At least I try really hard to. Sometimes this means taking a break, backing away from a situation, sometimes for days… until I cool down, calm down, take a few deep breaths… and think through my reasonings as logically as I can.
I really don’t make promises, either. Not unless I’m absolutely sure that I can fulfill it. Ask my kids.
When we’d talk about doing something, or going somewhere it was always “We’ll see what we can do… we’ll try to… I can’t make a promise on this, but…”
And I’d do my damndest to work it out.
Because my word means something to me.
I guess, what I’m trying to get across today, is that I don’t understand people who blithely let words pour out of their mouth and then turn around and say “I didn’t mean it like you took it… I said that, but… You took it wrong.”
When you say something to me, I am going to take it at face value.
If you don’t mean it – don’t say it.