Thursday, July 21, 2005

Athlete's mouth?

Seems I so often so often say things I regret that I'm surprised I don't have athlete's mouth by now for sticking my foot in it as much as I do. Recently I said some things to my wife that I realized soon after were hurtful. Whether it's saying something I should not have said at all, or saying something I phrased incorrectly, once the receiver of my message hears it, there's no taking it back. Admittedly at times I'll do this when writing, but at least there's a chance for me to review, edit, and then send it out. My brain seems to have a faulty editing and restraint system when it comes to the message traveling from my thoughts to my vocal chords. The thought comes into my head and I automatically assume, "Hey, this is a good thing to say." I often don't even consider reviewing it to make sure, a) that it's appropriate, and b) that it's phrased properly.

The third principle of Future Achievement International's MAXIMIZERS acrostic is: X Out the Negatives. This is where we learn to deal with challenges and hurts that come our way and not let them keep us down. So, for example, each time I say or do something that hurts somebody, they choose to decide how they'll deal with it and with my attempts at apologizing and repenting (see next paragraph). It would help them to remember that I make my share of mistakes (which I inadvertently remind them of quite often, if you get my drift) in this imperfect world. They need to look at who I am overall and not base their assessments of me too much on one incident. (As Dr. Jenson says in his book, we should try to believe the best about others and not make assumptions based on first impressions or isolated incidents). And they need to deal with the hurt as best they can and move past it whenever appropriate. As I've said earlier, I don't have the ability to determine how long that will take, nor is it my place to question how long they are taking to work through it. So many factors are involved.

The issue I need to focus on is what I did, and do the best I can to help right my wrong. That means such things as apologizing, repenting, and working on learning how to avoid such verbal diarrhea in the future. It's my responsibility to spend time with those I've offended to make sure they know I'm truly sorry and I'm willing to do what it takes to right the wrong I did. Life is indeed unfair at times, and, as M. Scott Peck said in his book, The Road Less Traveled: "Life is difficult." But that doesn't mean that those of us who cause difficulties are absolved from doing our best to help those we've hurt. We should know by now that sticks and stones are not the worst hurt a person can suffer.

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