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STOP! Are You Sure You Want to Say That?!

Point to ponder:

How wisely do you choose your words, especially with those you are most comfortable and close with?

A couple of weeks ago we installed a pull-up bar in our garage. Actually, that’s inaccurate. Two of our neighbors installed our pull-up bar while Russell and I stood by to watch and give moral support. That’s inaccurate too. We stood by because I wanted Russell to learn. I was sincerely interested in learning too but really my goal was to have Russell absorb their handy skills.

To give some back story, the night before Russell and I attempted to install the bar ourselves, but our power drill locked and despite watching a You Tube video to learn how to unlock it, we unsuccessful. In the midst of this process, we were in our garage, dripping sweat and I became increasingly frustrated. Yes, I really wanted to get the pull-up bar up, but my frustration was targeted at Russell’s lack of handiness and his inability to unlock this power tool. In fact, these nasty words almost spewed out of my mouth: “Do you know how unsexy it is for you to not know how to work this power tool!” Fortunately I caught my vicious words before they

landed on his ego and crushed it. Before saying what I was feeling, my internal dialogue went something like this: “Don’t be a B&*$%! And what would saying that accomplish anyway? It’s not going to solve the problem and it’s definitely not going motivate him to become handy. You'll crush his ego and rightly so, he’ll walk away and then they'll be tension between the two of you for the rest of the night. Remember, you didn’t marry your father (the handiest man on the planet).

You married a city boy who didn't grow up with a handy-man role model in his life. You’ve been married for almost fifteen years, he’s nearing fifty years old, he’s never been handy. He is who he is. Just thank him for being willing to help and opt for Plan B tomorrow”. And so, I thanked him, opted for Plan B and the next day two awesome neighbors successfully installed our pull-up bar.

I’ve thought a lot about my rare display of verbal discipline and during moments of frustration I need to repeat what I did and keep my mouth shut or choose encouraging words. I only bring up this example because I think choosing no words, non-biting words or encouraging words is often a challenge, especially when it comes to the people we are closest with or spend the most time with, such as spouses, ex-spouses, children, siblings, parents, and/or colleagues. What I’m not recommending is being mute only, as that can cause more frustration. Instead, if you decide to say something I’m simply suggesting an introspective and disciplined pause so you can choose wise and calculated words. This will allow your important point or request to be heard, egos or confidence will not be damaged and most importantly, your relationship will not be negatively impacted.


Action Item:

During a frustrating moment, rather than choose hurtful ego/confidence-crushing words, take an introspective and disciplined pause so you can choose wise and calculated words that allows your point or request to be heard and your relationship to not be negatively impacted.


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