|Photo credit: Maggie-A-Day|
A LOT of people in world speak death! They say nice words in a tone that isn't nice and you know those words are really death. Sometimes they use death words with a death tone. Sometimes they say death words with a nice tone and you aren't sure, but you think those words are death. They use words on the internet with no tone and maybe those are death too. It is really depressing and disheartening to be around people that so often speak death. It is so easy for a few misplaced words to make you feel less than or to set off your anxiety or a thousand other rotten negative feelings that you don't really want.
And maybe it is you using some of those death words and death tones. Let's be honest at times it is all of us. We all need to be more conscious of our words and how we use them. A few thoughts about how to do that.
Acknowledge and Affirm - Acknowledge what they said. Let them know that you heard what they had to say. By doing this, you are valuing their thoughts and feelings. You are valuing their humanity. Even if you disagree with them, acknowledge that they feel that way. Affirm the parts you can affirm. Like with my 4 year old. I need to acknowledge what she said and feels even if she is yelling it. I get her on to my lap and affirm what it can. "It is hard to be patient." "It is hard to grow up." "It is okay to be sad." "It is okay to be angry."
Then say the part that you need to disagree about. "You can't yell." "You can't hit." They are much more likely to listen to you because you listened to them first. As adults, we must do this with each other. We can not just do this with kids and not do this with each other. When you really want to let loose those death words or death tones, take deep breath. Then put aside yourself and try to listen to them. Try to see where they are coming from. Be aware of what else you have said and how that could make them feel. That leads me to my second thought.
Try to see both sides of the story. You might be angry and frustrated. You might have a good reason to be angry and frustrated. But try to see things from their perspective. Maybe they are angry and frustrated as well. Maybe they are afraid. If you can sympathize with their situation and what they might be feeling, you are less likely to use death words or death tones. If you have to confront them about something, then you can use a reasoning that affirms them and encourages them. You can still confront them, but you will confront them in a way that uses life words and life tones.
For instance if someone isn't living up to their end of a bargain. You are frustrated, but you also know they have a sick family member or extra work at their job, etc. You can start with "You aren't doing enough." OR you could start with "You have a lot going on right now." Then present the situation in a way that acknowledges their side and affirms what they have been doing. They will be ready to talk to you reasonably about the solution. They will listen to your concerns and issues because you saw their issue first.
So try to speak life more often. (And sometimes relationships are just toxic and it is best not to speak at all. However, that is a different story for another day. )