“You are not all that.” My husband threw the words at me to hurt me. I knew why. I had been stirring the pot and he threw them in a fit of frustration. I caught the words and looked at them for what they were.
It would have been easy to throw some words back at him. He sat there in an already vulnerable state. I knew I could hit my mark with ease. I looked again at the words he had thrown and then at him. I turned back to the work I had been doing and I smiled. That was all.
Actually, my smile crossed over into a laugh. I had a hearty laugh about the words he had thrown and a mental image popped into my mind. “I am all that and a bag of chips.” My image stated with attitude and a snap to match. Who could resist laughing out loud at that image?
Words can cut the heart. Words can shock the mind. Words can dig a pit of despair and then shove you in it. I recognized where his words came from and chose a different route. Because words can also build up the life and encourage a heart to greatness.
Choose Better Words
- Think before you speak. If you think there will be a need to duck if you release the words, then hold them back. If you think the words could cause harm, then rein them in. Be aware of the words you speak before they ever cross your lips.
- Pray before you speak. In moments of emotion, allow the mind to rest and focus. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Say a prayer to find your foundation of peace. Once you are standing on Peace then Love will be able to guide your words.
- Avoid retaliation. It may be better to give than to receive under some conditions, but try to avoid it when it comes to hurts. Letting the words of others push you to hurtful words of your own will only make a bad situation even worse.
- Listen for the real problem behind the words. People will shout loudest about the problem that matters the least. If you invest in listening, you will begin to uncover the real problem. Once you know the real problem then you will be in a position to respond.
- Just say nothing. Sometimes the only response is no response. “Sir, do you still beat your dog?” There is no good response to this question because a no could be used against you to prove that you once did beat your dog. Maybe your situation is not that extreme, but there are moments when silence is too golden to pass up.
I picked and prodded at my husband that day before he threw the words. I knew what I was doing, but I also recognized I had crossed the line once I pushed him to snap. Instead of responding from a place that wanted me to win, I chose better.