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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Should we think before we speak

Most of us are familiar with the phrase “A donkey never kicks the same stone twice”. While this might be true, there are plenty of other stones for the donkey to kick. The road of life is basically full of stones. The big ones are easy to see and avoid, but it’s the little ones that trip us up. So do we kick the same stone twice?

I know I have. Time and time again I resolve to think before I speak, but that’s not always possible. In every day conversation, people don’t usually think about what they’re going to say. Someone says something and we respond spontaneously. It’s only later on that we come to the conclusion … I shouldn’t have said that.

By then the damage is done and even apologizing doesn’t help. The words are spoken, someone has heard them and might never forget them. If we had a moment to think, we probably would have said something totally different, but we didn’t, the words flew out of our mouth and … another stone was kicked.

When this happens to me I often think … if only conversation was like to written word. I could go back, erase what was said or rephrase it.

Not that having time to think is always the solution. There have been times that I had plenty of time to think, and I still made the mistake of saying things I wish I could erase.
Take last night for instance. I had a meeting with the Board of Directors of our condo building, a representative of management and a resident, all in all it was seven against one.

I knew right from the start that I didn’t stand a chance. I should have stood up and made a graceful exit, but I didn’t. I had come to the meeting and I was going to state my case. Without any proof it was very difficult to make any of my claims stick, and like I said … it was seven against one.

So I sat there, shaking with rage, my heart hammering in my chest. While inside I was seething, I held it together though, I appeared reasonably calm.

Of course, this reasonably calm exterior only lasted so long. There came a time when I was pushed beyond my limits and like a pan of milk that had been simmering for a while, I suddenly boiled over and let fly.

Do I regret my outburst … on the one hand yes, because anger reveals weakness, but on the other hand … it felt so good, it felt so good to finally have my say and see the smug smile slide off seven faces.

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