My mouth is my greatest cheerleader and my most worthy adversary. Try as I might some days it seems I just can’t, or perhaps its a won’t, tame my tongue. At 39 I’m a professional at the two extremes of its use. On one hand I can encourage and love on you to help build you up. On the other I can injure you and tear you down.
We tell this lie about how sticks and stones break bones but words never hurt you. I guess we all need a good coping mechanism here and there but words hurt. Words don’t just hurt they find their way into your heart and if you hear then enough they have a way of manifesting themselves in your life. Words transform into self-fulfilling prophecies or the underlying fears that drive you.
The bible says of the tongue ‘Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.’ Maya Angelou charged us all with being careful because people will always remember how you made them feel. I have always remembered the words that made me feel that way. You would think that memories of horrible demoralizing experiences are enough to inspire you to do better. They are not. In fact often times we do the same or worse.
I’m blessed in that growing up there are very few experiences with my parents that I can say involved hurtful language. I can’t say the same for family or some of their friends. I can recall being teased about being ‘yellow’ by one of my mom’s friends as a child *insert insecurity here*. Or being lambasted by her hair dresser about my hair, honestly I just didn’t like her and didn’t want her to touch me but that is a separate issue, *insert insecurity here based on black girl hair stuff I can’t go all into today*. Throw in the rants of my ex husband; whore, stupid, fat ass, can’t do shit right etc and so on *insert insecurities and official hot mess seasoning*.
In Spite of these examples and the countless others I haven’t shared, I’m ashamed to say I’m not much better than the people that hurt me. They always say to be bigger person. Well I have been, but some days I’ve also been the bigger pettier person. The toughest thing to acknowledge is when you train you tongue in quick whips and stinging phrases, you also have to set that with an off switch. Frustration, exhaustion, anger, embarrassment, anything can trigger that spiteful tongue at anytime with anyone. Of course once you say its gone.
If I’m honest with myself I know that I’ve said hurtful things to the people I love the most, my children. While I’ve forgotten them I know they still carry them in the pockets of their hearts just like I carry hurtful words with me.
While I can’t change the past, I can set realistic goals for the present and future.
When angry, wait.
No matter how much I might want to keep it real. It just isn’t worth the cost somedays. Healthy relationships are much more valuable than a false notion of honesty
Check your motivation
Telling the truth is important, but telling the truth from a place of love is far more important than just being honest. When you tell the truth in love you tend to avoid arguments and are more likely to be heard.
Count the cost
No matter how well thought out your words they may cost you something like a relationship or a job so make sure to consider the potential fall out or consequences of your words.
Consider your audience
Not every conversation should be a matter of public record, or fuel for the gossip fires. Tough conversations with friends, co-workers or your children may be best done in private.
Know when to keep it to yourself
It should go without saying, but not everything needs to be said. Some words have no business leaving your mouth ever!
Remember out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and the power of life and death is in the tongue. I hope that you all speak life and have it spoken to you as well. Then you’ll never have to worry about what that mouf do…..