“Think before you speak.” This is the phrase that gets you to stop and bite your tongue. Think before you let all that rage out. Think before you say something you can’t take back.
In the case of thinking before we speak, it is often for the courtesy of whomever we are speaking to. We think twice to stop ourselves from saying things we don’t mean, or disrespecting someone who might not deserve our spite. It can mean being the “bigger person,” and holding back our (sometimes appropriate) anger, but often, after taking a moment to consider our words, we do come up with something better to say. How we think can greatly shape how we say things, and non-coincidentally, how people react to the messages we are trying to send with our words.
I can’t tell anyone what to think, nor can I supply queue-cards for the best things to say in any type of situation. However, I can say, without any doubt, that the things we give attention to and choose to speak about greatly shape how we carry ourselves, and how others view us. Today I am giving you a new meaning to thinking before you speak.
As I was commuting to class this morning, I noticed it’s the first time I’ve seen the sun come out in days. It got me thinking of how terrible and gray the past week was. Which got me further thinking, why am I thinking the week was bad? Just because it was gray? The more I thought about it, the more I felt it was because I let the gray really get to me. Every day I was mentioning the cold, the lack of sun, or some other negative nonsense. It wasn’t until I woke to the sun hitting me dead in the eye that it occurred to me how I was heavily noticing the negative, and worse I was talking – no– complaining about it. When nothing was really wrong, just a little bit of gray in my sky. But that was enough to get me bent and feel the need to point out what I thought was wrong.
It struck me that we need to think before we speak, and not just in the way your parent tells you to before you’re about to talk back. This morning I was convinced that my whole week was bad merely because I had spoken so much about the negative. I realized that if you give your attention to the negative, you’ll probably end up talking about the negative too. And when all you have to say is negative, well, what does that say about you? Think [positive] before you speak. The positive things are just as easy to notice. If you think a nice thought, say it out loud. If you think a bad thought, why mention it? And if your sky is looking a little gray today, I promise the bright side is there somewhere behind the clouds, and if you pay close attention, you might see it too.