Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. They are just words so they mean nothing. Actions speak louder than words. We are pretty sure that you have heard at least one of these "great" quotes. I know I have because I use to live my life like this to the fullest. I come from a family of very strong, opinionated women. So I truly believed that it shouldn't matter what I said as long as my actions were loving. If that person couldn't get over what I said, I would wonder why my words overruled my good deeds. I thought they were making me out to be someone I wasn't and I was being misunderstood. Not only that, I was the girl that would voice my opinion about pretty much everything. I would tell you what I thought and you had to take it or leave it. My tone was not any better. Let's throw in the rolling of the eyes from time to time. Maybe a huff or a puff if I wanted to be dramatic. Most of the time, I would miss the entire picture because understanding was not a part of my vocabulary. Because of this, I would make people feel less than when they would think differently than me. I didn't even realize that I was doing this, but my condescending tone, contentious behavior, or insulting words spoke otherwise. I want you know no one wants to talk to or share things with a person who thinks they are always right or makes them feel beneath them. It makes people feel like they can't tell you anything and they will eventually decide not to do so.
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Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut/freeditigalphotos.net
Seven Helpful Tips
1.) Accept the fact that you are not loving with your words. I spend so many years not accepting constructive criticism in this area of my life. We have to learn to accept who we are before we change what we do. You can't fix anything if you don't believe it's broken.
2.) Ask God to search your heart and show you anything that is not like Him. Seek Him.
3.) Inquire with someone you trust if you speak in a loving manner. It may not be what you say, but how you say it. (tone, your facial expressions, non-verbal, etc.)
4.) Seek to understand before being understood. This is so key.
5.) Change your way of thinking. Our thoughts become our words and our words become our actions. This is usually shown in more than the words themselves, but the tone and non-verbal. For a man thinketh so is he. Proverbs 23:7
6.) Understand that we will be held accountable for the things we say. Jesus says, "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matt 12:36-37)
7.) Remember we have the capacity to choose to love others with our words everyday. Let's choose to give life.