Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Thinking about the power and timing of the words we use can improve our lives. Words just like everything else in our world have energy. Taking the time to think through what we want to say BEFORE saying it and being sure the other person is asking for our input and able to fully listen (not stressed or feeling ill) is an important habit to develop. It does take greater mental effort and slows down the speed in which we talk – which – believe it or not – is usually a good thing. It helps us become the type of communicators people choose to listen to because they respect our thoughtful comments.

When we are upset, concerned or not feeling up to snuff ourselves we are usually giving off negative energy at the start. It is especially important at those times to think before we speak. The words we choose to use can cause the receiver to think about what we are saying and discuss things further or cause them to put up an invisible wall of resistance which, over time can become a fortress. If we continue with unsolicited advice or using words that are spoken first and thought about later, sooner or later others just tune us out whenever we begin to speak because they expect a correction or direction and are worn down by it all. They have put up a permanent wall of protection to prevent our words from negatively affecting them. Even worse, they slowly begin to move away from us because we drain them of their energy.

My grandmother used to say, ‘the less said, the sooner mended.’ When I visualize this phrase in my mind I think of a facet dripping – word by word – or conversely the same facet gushing and spraying water everywhere causing a mess which will need to be cleaned up later. Something to think about when we are bothered by something someone has said or done. Is it absolutely necessary to make a comment? Does it really matter? If so, what do we hope to achieve by making it. If we want to clarify or even correct what was said there is a way to do so gently and carefully without adding to the ‘perceived’ negativity of the situation. Remember, the particular words we choose to use in response can add fuel to a fire or calm the waters.

Frequently, the actual words we use or hear and the meaning we attach to them are not even close to the intended message. Slowly and calmly asking the person to explain further so we can better understand the message often results in the speaker even changing the words they used to help explain their viewpoint. This approach enhances communication AND respect.

Since we all appreciate people who give us a pat-on-the-back with positive ideas or comments it is important to evaluate our own word choices and communication skills to see if we are doing the same for others. What we give to others in all forms comes back to us double fold.

Try to make it a habit to listen to the words you use as well as the words used by others. Words are powerful. They can help or hurt a person or situation. Remember, it takes little thought and even less caring to be the resident critic. To me the resident critic is sort of like being in the cheap seats as a communicator. If you really want to help a person or resolve a situation it does take a little more effort to find just the right words at just the right moment to cause a positive change but is so worth it!

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