In a world where you can be anything, be kind. Unknown
Last night was another Toastmaster’s night that didn’t disappoint. Everyone has their own speaking style, joke style, toasting style, and their way of doing thought of the day.
Some people are good at putting together the thought of the day encompassing the theme, speeches and everything else into a well thought out, off the cuff thought that resonates with everyone. Most of us envy the people who can do that.
We think we can’t come up with something at the last minute but usually, we can. Last night I was asked at the last minute to give a joke. Not my strong suit but a joke from My Big Fat Greek Wedding popped in my mind.
The mother of the bride said her husband was the head of the family but she was the neck, and the neck can make the head do whatever it wants.
The speeches were about impromptu speaking, depression, distracted driving, mentoring, and the importance of our words and being kind. It was a tutorial on living a good life, given by different speakers with humor and insight.
Our words matter and being kind is the speech that spoke to me the most. The speaker reflected on the lessons her mother imparted to her. Her mother told her to be careful of the last words said to someone as they leave her home; you never know if those are the last words you will speak to them.
Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind. Eric Hoffer
We hear about it every day how the last words were in anger, hurtful, hurled in the heat of the moment, never to be taken back. It is good advice but hard to live all the time. I’ve left the house angry and slammed the door to make the point.
Is there a kind way to say some of the things that need to be said? Or is there only a kinder way? It is inevitable that if we talk about the things that need to be talked about and deal with the things we need to deal with it will not be all sunshine and light. We should be able to talk without getting angry. We should be able to hear complaints and criticisms without getting defensive.
Unfortunately, we are only human; our reaction to something can be so immediate, so volcanic we are taken by surprise ourselves. We can’t take back our words, once they are said they may reverberate in someone’s mind the rest of their life. They may color everything they do.
We may not even agree we said what they think we said. We may wonder how they could interpret what they have from what we think we said, or what we think we might have said. Often we can’t remember exactly what we said. Being slow to speak is a good characteristic to have. Thinking long and hard on how to answer, maybe deferring our response until we can mull it over and come up with something coherent and less hurtful.
Too often we wish we’d reacted better, instead of actually reacting better. We can learn to be honest, warm, forgiving, mindful, humble, patient, generous, respectful, flexible and kind. We can be grateful even for the off the cuff remarks we didn’t want to hear, that may have a kernel of truth. Most of all we can be grateful we have someone in our life. As long as they are still in our life we can change, improve, and heal our relationship.
We may have to forgive our self for words we’ve said in anger; we may have to forgive someone for words they’ve said in anger to us. If we can forgive, we can let go of the hold those words have over us. If we can move forward in kindness, gratitude and honesty maybe we can heal the breach.
Even if we cannot heal the breach, forgiveness and gratitude will free us to go forward instead of being mired in the past. Is the gift of forgiveness the gift we give ourselves? Words matter, be kind.
Being kind, considerate, generous, warm, enthusiastic, encouraging, positive, and polite is always a choice. Unknown
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