Think before you speak. Listen before you respond.
Most people say or do things because they are a result of their own personal experiences and beliefs. I’ve come to find that people don’t always realize that the words they are saying affect others and felt it time to share a bit about thinking before you speak and listening before you respond.
I used to take things personally. Way too personally. I would freeze from over analyzing things people said to me before making decisions for myself or before I responded to someone. Or worse, I would find myself saying “sorry” all of the time. (More on that in a later post.) Through working on my own personal development and surrounding myself with positive and inspiring people I no longer give my energy away to people’s words or actions. Things happen, but they do not necessarily happen TO you. Only you can control the way that you feel or react.
To give you some context I thought I’d share a few scenarios that have come up for me. Do any of these resonate with you, whether you are the speaker or the receiver?
“Look who it is, you do exist.”
I travel a lot. I am very involved in my nutritional cleansing business. I work full time. I am VP of my community association. I love to attend health, leadership and networking events. I used to feel bad when people said things to me like “I can’t keep track of you” or “Oh, you do still live in NJ?” or “Who are you again?” Maybe they are trying to tell me that they miss me and wish I was around more. Maybe they wish they were able to travel or be as dedicated as I am with my passions but they don’t have the means to do so or are too afraid to make a change from their norm. Who knows? What I do know is that I no longer spend time explaining my choices on where my time is spent or trying to figure out what is being said to me. Granted, some of them are teasing and being funny, but after a while, it gets old.
“You’re so skinny! I hate you!”
I hate the word skinny. I hate the word hate and actually cringed as I was typing the words. Everyone deserves to look and feel good but I have no desire to be skinny. When people say this to me most of them mean it as a compliment of course. But why can’t someone just pay a compliment instead of saying things in that way? Are they upset with themselves for not taking care of their own body? Are they uncomfortable with giving compliments? I don’t know. What I do know is that having struggled with weight and have many people close to me with eating disorders and body image issues. Why in the world would you tell someone you hate them for being skinny? How about telling someone they look healthy? Or happy? Or just great? If someone says this to me I no longer let it upset me but in the past I actually drove myself crazy thinking, “OK am I too small now? Should I eat more? Bulk up? WAIT! STOP! I feel great, ignore them.” Be mindful of what you say to people. I now respond with a simple, “Thank you, I feel great and love helping others feel great too.”
“You have a big house and you guys have good jobs. Why don’t you have kids?”
I am still surprised by how many people say this to me. I would be lying if I didn’t say I want to shake people when they say it because it’s so insensitive but I refrain, because I am nice now. I’ve had personal reasons ranging from not being able to, then when I was able to I wasn’t ready, and then I wasn’t able to again. When and if it happens it will happen. But until then, it’s none of your business why someone does or does not have kids. A person may have conception issues, money issues, or just overall personal struggles they are dealing with and they don’t need a nosy body adding to their situation. Or, they genuinely don’t want to have kids. If you are a person who feels they need to have an answer when someone asks you why you don’t have kids, I’m here to tell you that you don’t. I mean if you really want to respond you can always say you don’t have any kids because of Nunya. Get it??!? Nunya business? 🙂
I’d love to hear your thoughts, feedback and own personal experiences in these scenarios or others that you’d like to share. Remember, think before you speak and listen before you respond.