From a young age, my mother would caution me about the way I expressed myself. A reflection of her and my father, it is natural for me to express my discontent with something, especially if it seems unjust. When you are a kid, there are tactical consequences! As adults, we may not realize the outcomes of our expression as they are subtle and internal.
After reflecting on moments I felt truly loved by dear friends, I realized many told me what they felt was true. Sometimes it sounded brash. Sometimes it sounded sweet. But either way, it was loving. I knew it came from a place of respect, care, concern, kindness. . .
As much as we may have something to say, it is simply irrelevant if it is not accompanied with love. But what about when you are saying it with love, and still come across offensive? We can’t control how others will perceive what we say, but I’m learning we ought to be in control of our thoughts, which affects our hearts, and then affects our speech. Wrong thoughts can affect the very tone of what we say.
When my husband does things that rub me the wrong way, I might be tempted to generalize: he always….or why do men…You get it. Well if love hopes the best, but I am thinking the worst when I express how I feel about whatever it is even in a gentle tone, he will likely hear the worst.
I know. It’s crazy! That we can feel thoughts*. But I have realized even when I have the sincerest of intent to do the right thing, my thoughts about the situation can affect the way I am heard. So it’s not what we say. It’s how. And it’s not just how we say it, it’s also what we are thinking. And love thinks/believes the best. Love is not blind to the junk, it just hopes. Let’s spread a little hope in our thoughts so we can speak with a little more love.
*this specific thought was inspired by a young woman, LaTrice Green 😀