I have a knack for saying what I think.
On the surface that sounds laudable. Words associated with such forthrightness are genuine, open, honest.
Words associated with this would be more along the lines of critical, loud, accusing, judgmental.
Those are the “thinks” no one wants to hear.
I’m trying to be more judicial in the things I say out loud. Thinking through my words so I don’t strip away my veneer of “nice” and prove to be “crotchety”.
So rather than say certain things when I become impatient or lose my temper, I’ve worked at replacing questionable phrases with unrelated pleasant words. It’s a wonderful way to decompress my temper. Even if people look at me oddly.
For instance, when standing on the sidelines of a soccer field, watching my children or grandchildren play, it’s very easy to make comments about a referee who I believe isn’t worthy of his knee socks. But rather than calling his character into question, I’ll simply call him a lemon wedge.
It’s a partial piece of fruit that sits in a glass and does nothing. And it makes me feel better saying it out loud.
For letting off steam, I tried using “shoes and socks”. But if you hold out that first syllable too long, it comes too close to being inappropriate.
So lately I’ve chosen to use “pickles and pie”. Two very unrelated words that, together, paint a bizarre picture and sound quite ridiculous.
Imagine sitting in the middle of traffic, barely moving, and someone has the audacity to pull in front of you as you try and keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead. Using “pickles and pie” to blow off steam helps because the power of the exploding “p’s” is a physical release while the words themselves bring to mind apple mixed with kosher dills. Which is just goofy. And gross.
See what I mean?
Which is fine and dandy until you hear your three-year-old granddaughter saying, “pickles and pie” when she’s frustrated with her circumstances. Standing there with hands on her hips, exploding “p’s” all over the place, isn’t the picture I had in mind.
OK. It is funny.
There will always be people listening to what we say. Or reading what we say in the social media.
I don’t want to be dismissed as irrational or foolish because of what I say in anger. Because I’m not thinking before I speak.
The apostle Paul reflected on the character of Jesus when he told how we should approach conversations.
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29
Words hold power to help, heal and hurt. To encourage or shame. I don’t want to be the one remembered only for my mean words.
What words do you need to watch coming from your mouth?
First photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.ca.
Second photo courtesy of panandfork.com.