Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Being an extrovert is a bit of a curse, isn’t it? Verbally-processing introverts struggle as well. That need…that compulsion…to get words out of our heads and in the open. We who suffer with this understand the wild nature of words. For those who don’t have this same impulse, you may also suffer under the weight of our words.
This is a public confession and redress of this particular conundrum.
[For those of you, like me, who feel sometimes your head might fairly explode if you don’t voice your thoughts so you can find resonance with a hearer, you are free to read the last two paragraphs first.]
I grew up with good teaching from an introverted mom who knew the power of words…and the importance of using them wisely.
This adapted from a past blog posting of mine:
Good counsel. Only problem is the continuing conversation in our heads that color our attitudes, our tone of voice, our preferences, and our decisions. These we still must wrestle down and be done with.*
First, this is not a guilting of any sort. For myself or anyone else. We who restrain words understand the risk we take in speaking… especially those things we feel almost an obligation to say. Those words we think will somehow right a tilting world. Those words we feel entitled to. The words that state our case or that of another.
Second, we know, often too late, that words not spoken are rarely misunderstood. Of course, silence can be deafening as well, but we have to put our own meaning into someone else’s silence. With spoken words, it’s clear what a person is thinking. So it needs to be worth speaking. The hearer may have a very different take on the matter. Thus the risk and wariness that must accompany speaking boldly.
Third, does what we think need to be said? Will it make a difference in the positive to what’s going on in our heads? Or will what we say only add to a problem, rather than bringing it closer to resolution?
There’s a pithy and true saying floating around the internet about thinking before you speak. Here is a visual of it.
Photo Credit: Flickr, Jo Quinlan
Along with this, these days, is Think Before You Post. How many times have we deleted a Facebook or Twitter post put up in haste, hoping it came down before being read by those significant in our lives who would be hurt or offended by it? Sigh…Photo Credit: Flickr
Is our opinion so valuable as to cause pain to those who matter to us? Not. At. All.
Photo Credit: Hannah W. Potter
All that being said, finally, what do we do with the words building in our heads about massive concerns, witnessed injustices, shifts in worldview or mission drifts? There are words, as I see it, that have to be expressed almost to understand the whole picture of a thing going on. These words, raw and impassioned, we don’t speak randomly or post publicly (except in the rare occasion of stopping harm). These words if expressed may only yield spiritual reprimands, or hurt silences, or long tirades from disagreeing hearers/readers. The words that must be said, words that you know may have disastrous consequence, might need the hearing only of a trusted friend…at least at first. This sort of friend will hopefully help guide you to sort out that which does not need to be said and what does – to whom, in what manner, and on what occasion.
Oh the wisdom in thinking before we speak. How thankful I am for those trusted friends who refuse to think ill of me when words spill over! Friends, and family, who know my heart is not meant to wound, who help me sort out my words and what to do with them. Friends who know I take no joy or satisfaction in anything bordering on gossip or slander. Friends who listen, and may agree and resonate, but counsel with me – about what must be shared and what is best left unsaid. Friends who pray with me and remind me to pray. In my book, that is never spiritualizing…prayer is as real a thing as all those thoughts that can rob me of sleep…but so much better.Photo Credit: Flickr, J. D. Hancock
Anybody out there have the same struggle? Or a different struggle with words? Any helps you want to share? Shoot us some of your words in Comments below.