If you have nothing nice to say…SHUT UP!!!!

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I know we have all heard this before but c’mon, how many of us actually do it? About 20%?

I have met people who are real experts at this; who are so kind and loving that even when they give you a bout of constructive criticism or “feedback”, you thank them with all of your heart and love them for it. It’s an art and a gift and I have utmost respect and love for these kind of people in my life. I feel so blessed that I even know them, let alone that they chose to grace me with their presence and kind words.

Then there’s the rest of us.

Personally, I often suffer from the “foot-in-mouth disease”. You know, when you are trying to say something nice but it comes off as really bitchy? People who know me, know what I mean but the ones who don’t well…. it results in me launching in a half hour speech about what it was I actually meant, the whole time digging myself deeper and deeper…

Some days I just chose to keep my mouth shut. But then I’m perceived as a snob. So I can’t win. Most of the time I just get someone who does know me, be with me around people I don’t know so that they can interpret what I actually meant to a person who I am about to unintentionally insult.

Real shame, cause I think I express myself when I write quite okay. If anyone ever asks me to speak somewhere, it should be a real hoot.

Okay, I am going to get to the actual point now.

What really really really REALLY shits me is people who are mean and cruel and intentionally say things to hurt other people. These people need a muzzle. I have a couple spare.

I will provide you with a some of examples of what I am talking about.

A pregnant lady who has had a hard time with her pregnancy and finally, everything is fine and she is happy. She goes to the supermarket and a woman asks her how far along she is etc. She then proceeds to tell the pregnant lady that she is way too small and that her baby must be underdeveloped.  The pregnant lady then goes home and cries her heart out.

A mother of four goes to the supermarket (I don’t know why all this needs to happen at the supermarket!) with her children, including her twins who look different and are different size. A woman asks how old they are. Upon being informed that they are twins, she has a go at the mother and insists that not only are her twins NOT in fact, twins but also that the other two children are not hers as she is too small to have had that many children. The mother of four tries really hard to control herself and not smack the said woman in the mouth.

Someone means to pay a compliment to another and uses such an ambiguous word that the receiver is absolutely gutted and it makes them doubt their dreams and self worth.

So what I am saying is that our words can be powerful. Sure, our words have as much power as the person listening to them gives them, BUT we will never know the emotional state of the person we are speaking with. They may be putting on a brave face because their cat got run over, they had a car accident and someone vomited on them that very same day and something we might say as a joke can totally tip them over the edge. We don’t know. We should never assume.

This is where awareness comes into play, I guess. Being aware of others. Of the fact that we are not the only person on this planet and that the universe is not there to serve us (oh, the teenagers…).Of the fact that people often put on appearances and unless we are very close to them, we will NEVER know the full story.

If you have to say it, then do it with tact (I am tact deficient) and with love (I have lots of this one). I think that the reason I am able to get away with being so direct all the time is because people can really feel that I genuinely care and they probably even have a quiet chuckle about me because they feel sorry for me especially in the instances where I “dig myself deeper”.

I am not saying we should be untruthful in order to protect the feelings of others, just mindful. So if something serves absolutely no purpose, other than make you feel better about yourself then just don’t go there. Bite your tongue until it bleeds if you need to. Or ask me to borrow a muzzle.

Personally, I am going to plaster a warning sign on my forehead, if I am not accompanied by a translating escort.

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paulineferguson

I’ve been known to say something that sounds perfectly fine in my head, until it gets out there in the real world… where it sounds horrible. I’ve developed the “that was a face value statement” follow-up, meaning “I meant the words, not the tone, not the facial expression, nothing else, just take the words at face value please, that’s how I meant them”.

Because honestly, sometimes the “nice” filters haven’t had time (or enough caffeine) to kick in and I sound quite grouchy, or I’ve had a shit of a time doing something else just before, and this comes out really really short…

I’ve even been known to say “that sounded better in my head”. However, on those occasions where I can play the future scenario out in my head, and I know that nothing good will come from any possible thing I could remotely think of saying… then I shut up. Of course, I’m usually then “in a mood”… (sigh).

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    Ana Hall

    EXACTLY!!! This is when we need the translator!!! I should start making stickers for our foreheads: do not speak to me unless a translator is present 🙂

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