It’s not what you say….

We’ve heard saying like “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”; “Actions speak louder than words”; “It’s not what you way, but how you feel when you say it.”    After an incident this past week, I totally agree with all of those statements more than ever.  Why? Well, communication is a tough nut to crack.  Words mean different things to different people.  Even the same word means different things to the same person.

Depending how one feels at the time, a word can mean different things to them.

If someone feels a “victim”, “powerless”, or “not heard”, they may feel better (more empowered) with the word “aggressive” or “assertive”.

If someone is doing quite well, everything is falling into place, they are magically attracting the right attention from the right people concerning the areas they are passionate about, life is going well for them –then “being aggressive or assertive” will feel too heavy handed for them.  They may interpret “aggression” as to manipulative and forceful.   The words are neither “wrong”, “right”, “inappropriate” or “proper”.   The words did not change, but the people are in different places in their lives.  The people are in different “feeling places” or at different energy and vibrational levels.

The confusion is not just between “different” people.  The same words can mean different things to the same person.   When we are in different points in our day or life, the same words may hit us very differently.

For instance, when someone is in a really in a “low, depressed, angry mood”, telling them to “just shrug it off, cheer up, things will work out” may gain you a black eye.  But if that same person is just mildly annoyed, telling them to “just shrug it off, cheer up, things will work out” may gain you a companion to a fun movie to distract thoughts away from the annoyance.

We’re also trained to take “past actions” into consideration when someone speaks as well.  This is the “Actions speak louder than words” addendum.   It’s difficult to take someone’s word seriously, when they don’t take it seriously themselves.  I can get stuck on this integrity issue.  I personally feel that people should do what they say they are going to do.  But not everyone feels the same.  The proof is all the judge and courtroom shows on television these days.

The television judges are consistently pointing out this fact.  “If they never paid you back before, why did you think they would pay you back this time?” is often a question for the plaintiff.   The judges normally site common sense and previous behavior to illustrate that the plaintiff didn’t really have an expectation of being paid – because the defendant never paid them back before.

But – what about giving people the benefit of the doubt.  People can change.  Shouldn’t I give them another chance to turn themselves around?

Well – I would give them the benefit of the doubt, but on my own terms.  I certainly don’t want to be resentful of them or myself for putting myself in the same position as I have done before.  The old adage “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me” springs to mind.


At the start of this journey we focused on “what other people are saying or doing” – but we actually ended up with “what we are saying or doing”.   Next blog we will review actual practical scenarios on how to do this.


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