μιλούν – to speak, (just so you know).
“Courage is what it takes to sit down and listen; courage is also what it takes to stand up and speak.” – Winston Churchill
Last Tuesday we started talking about how to better our listening, so, I thought it would be important to talk about speaking. There are so many aspects to this subject, I am going to split them into two parts. Today I want to discuss speaking with intention, and learning when NOT to speak.
This goes hand in hand with the saying “say what you mean, and mean what you say”, and it has been one the the HARDEST practices for me, as I am sure it is for most of you. Since probably forever, I have been a people pleaser. It has been great at times, and has gotten me in some deep troubles at others. Being afraid of what people think of you or how they will react to your own thoughts can really prohibit authenticity. Sometimes I get so excited in a moment, make plans, then all the sudden 4:30 rolls around and I don’t want to do anything but grab a cup of joe and throw on a movie. Or when someone you look up to asks your opinion on a subject and you respond with what you think they want to hear, rather than what you believe in your heart to be true.
When discussing how to speak intentionally, I want you to think more about your the meaning behind your words, rather than saying what you think is wrong, or what you think is right.
Am I going to do what I am promising?
Do I truly mean that I care for this person?
Do I really plan on following through with these plans?
Anything said to another person should be followed up by actions to compliment. If you have no intention of following through by your actions, why say anything in the first place? In the book of James 2:17, it talks about how faith alone, without works, is dead. This goes for when you speak as well; words without actions to follow, are empty. So be sure that the next time you open your mouth to retaliate, please someone, or more importantly; make a promise… you are doing so with every intention of following through with those actions.
For example if I say, “I love you” to someone close to me, my actions should be of that love. I would not say “I love you”, then proceed to go and slander them behind their back, this would lack integrity, authenticity, and my words would mean nothing. On the other hand, which ties into when not to speak, if I do not love someone, that doesn’t mean I tell them that I don’t love them and follow through with being unkind. We always want to be seeking the best in ourselves and others. What you need to learn in this instance is to hold your tongue. In Proverbs 17:28 it says “even fools are thought wise if he keeps silent.” Silence is not always a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and above all, self control. Say what you mean, and mean what you say…if you don’t mean it, don’t say it. AND even if you DO mean it, if it is unkind or will cause pain in another individual, learn to hold your tongue.
The opposing side to this…which I have run into recently in my life from those close to me; is the argument that holding your tongue in order to save the hurting of others would be considered to be lacking honesty. I want to say for the record, that in no means do I think that you should outright lie or go over the top with “fluff talk”. What I mean by this is, if someone asks you if you think their outfit, and you happen to think that their outfit is the ugliest you have ever seen; 1. please, please, please do not go out of your way to say that you think their out is the worst you’ve ever seen. You will end up hurting them, and in actuality yourself as well because their resentment towards you for saying such words, will harbor in their hearts forever. I always say, words are forgiven, not forgotten. 2. Now, if you choose to hold your tongue from saying that you think their out is the worst you’ve seen… this doesn’t mean tell them that their out is the cutest you HAVE ever seen, like EVER, and you wish you could take it home, name it princess, and live happily ever after without taking it off. As in all things, there is a balance. This reigns true in life, in circumstance, in decision making, and in what you say. We are all very intelligent human beings… we know what its too much or what is too little.
So yes, honesty is a virtue, but so is the ability to hold ones tongue.
Check back on Friday October 7th for Part 2 of our series on speaking.