Tool For Tuesday: Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say. And Don’t Say It Meanly.

Last week’s Tool for Tuesday was making sure our actions match our words. That segues into today’s tool which can help us live our best chapter:

Say what you mean. Mean what you say. And don’t say it meanly.

I was a real pushover for most of my life. I didn’t care what I had to do as long as I could get people to love me. I was horrified at saying no. The worst thing someone could call me was selfish. I didn’t mind being a doormat if it meant having people’s approval.

Learning that no was a complete sentence came hard to me. No? No! No. I was so scared that if I refused to do something for people, they’d be angry at me and that meant falling into a lonely precipice where I’d lost their love.

Once I recognized why I was doing what I was doing, I went to the other extreme. I was so pumped up with new power that when I said no, I practically shouted it. Maybe I was afraid my “no” wouldn’t taken seriously so I went on and on with my reasons. Sometimes I wasn’t nice at all. I was like a new convert to a religion who gets extreme for a while before gaining enough confidence to be moderate.

These days, I can say what I mean in a polite way. I don’t complain and I don’t explain. I don’t have to “speak my mind” the way I did in the past because I’ve learned that a lot is better off unsaid. And I’m no longer talking myself blue in the face to get other people to change their behavior or ideas. “You cannot change anyone except yourself,” the woman named Peace Pilgrim said. “After you have become an example, you can inspire others to change themselves.”

After, “don’t say it meanly,” I also ask myself, “Does it have to be said by me? Does it have to be said by me now? Does it have to be said at all?”

How do you say what you mean? Are there any tools you use?

Advertisements

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
This entry was posted in Tool For Tuesday, Uncategorized, Your Best Chapter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tool For Tuesday: Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say. And Don’t Say It Meanly.

  1. Hi Diana,
    Say what you mean. Mean what you say…..I’m always into that. Thankyou for sharing this
    be good to yourself
    David

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s