Sunday, May 23, 2010


“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”(Proverbs 12:18).
We just say what we want, with no consequence as to how it affects the hearer. This trait seems to be hereditary, and it is something I wish to break. I have parts of this trait in me, and am constantly working to change it. The hardest part for me is tone - I sound harsh, abrupt, angry. I don't like the way I sound but it seems so hard to re-program; believe you me I've been trying for years. In some areas I have become quite successful - but I struggle with speaking lovingly on a daily basis using terms of endearment to make things more palatable. The closer you are to me, the harder it is to speak with love...when it should be just the opposite.
Well it seems there's alot of anger in the way we communicate, and since the death of my brother it has become more complicated. If the relationships were not formed when he was alive, right now it seems impossible to forge with death hanging over our heads.
Growing up, our house was always loud - my mother was a yeller, my father was quiet and the strict disciplinarian. It wasn't just the yelling - it was what was said. Looking back, I don't think I liked it one bit which is why once I discovered books I insulated myself from what was happening around me by disappearing in to another world. I would literally sit in a corner and block out all the noise for hours on end. Its where I also learned to be sarcastic and flippant; in my mind this was the quickest way to end an argument without getting in to a screaming match.
Its amazing how our environment becomes a part of us even if we don't like it. The biggest eye opener was when I had children and the way I initially communicated with them - yelling, not listening, and denying every request. My aha moment was when I realized I did not wish to be like my mother in this regard - in other areas, yes, but not this one. I did not want to pass on this unhealthy manner of communication to the next generation.
This way of communication has affected everyone of us, included the dead sibling.
I think things need to be said - but we hurt with our words more than help, because somehow everyone feels they can say what they want, when they want, how they want, to whomever they want. There's never an apology either when someone is wrong, the barrage of words just becomes stronger, louder, harder. In a time of crisis, this makes everything worse.
I dislike the expression brutally honest - because you can be honest without being brutal. The definition of brutal is savagely violent. Think about that image the next time you wish to be brutally honest!
I know people mean well, but I cant take it when people yell at me to get their point across - it brings back my childhood and I want to bury my head in a book.
I've learned to apologize when wrong, speak softer, but most importantly to listen.
I'm always working on not being glib and sarcastic, because this has worked for me for so long.
I'm not a doormat; but some may consider me a wimp because I don't yell back.
I want my words to be kind, like apples of gold in pictures of silver, to minister and heal. It might be an impossible standard, but when I can't do this, I say nothing.
So where do we go from here?
Effective communication involves more than just speaking and hearing. Real communication only takes place when both parties move beyond speaking and hearing to understanding. Speaking and listening are means, not ends. People who feel better because they “spoke their mind” or think they fulfilled their obligation because they “heard him out” inadvertently communicate a message that they don’t really want to communicate!
I don't know who's going to make the change. I know we all want it, but old habits die hard. I hope we have the courage to change. I hope we all get tongues of the wise so that we can each bring healing.

1 comment:

  1. The reading you've been doing since childhood has apparently paid off as this scribble is quite the easy read, stimulating too. Maybe that has more to do with the fact that I'm your little brother though :)

    I actually have more to say than this but it may have to wait.

    You're a very natural writer.


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