Ever wish that what you said could be printed out on a little piece of white paper before you said it? Then you could re-word, re-phrase or just delete something if it didn’t land just the way you wanted it to. Unlike reality, where the words come out and you can’t get them back. And everyone knows that awful creeping hit of adrenaline when you ask yourself, oh no, was that my outside voice?
A badly spoken word at the worst time can have big consequences – the end of a friendship, a romance or even termination from a job! Our words are powerful and the way we use them internally and externally shapes our lives and creates the vibe with everyone in our lives. But even the nicest person in the world can have an off day. Have you ever wished and prayed that everyone around you was struck deaf in the very moment you just uttered that last word? Is there any taking it back once it has left your lips? Can you soften something after the fact? Is there ever any room for damage control?
You have to show regret that what you’ve said is hurtful. It’s good to let the person know, “I am sorry for saying that, and I know it was hurtful to hear. Can we talk about it when you’r ready?” Time will give you both some perspective. You want to be sure that giving them space won’t be confused with you not caring. You do care, and you want to give them the autonomy they deserve. If they have a quick retort back don’t fan the flames. Just step away.
Take this process time for you, too. What motivated you to say what you said? You have to be completely honest with yourself about this. If you put your partner down in front of someone else, are you dealing with jealousy issues? If you made an insensitive remark about an intimate issue – are you pushing this relationship away from you? Some believe that there are no mistakes. So what you said may not have been what you meant, but it did mean something. You need to be clear about this before you approach the injured party. If you embarrassed a coworker or boss, ask yourself what you are going to do if you receive some disciplinary action. Be ready to accept the consequences.
No matter what the truth is underneath your words, blurting something painful out at a bad time calls for an apology. You care for this person and for the relationship, so respect that by swallowing your pride. Then get to the underlying ownership. “I am sorry I put you down in front of your friends. I got jealous. I am working on it.” Then you are open to hear their feedback. Don’t argue with their reaction, just listen. Listening attentively to their side will be the first step in healing the relationship. This goes for work, too. This is someone you will have to work with, so anything for peace is probably the best road to take!
No one is perfect. We’ve all said things we wish we hadn’t. But a relationship is something that has its own life. You can feed that connection with new positive language. Remember, a few kind wods can go a long way. Compliments and courtesies really do make the world a better place. Saying good morning, holding doors open, offering to make a favorite meal or a coffee are all recommended when your relationship is getting back on track. It’s a hard world out there, so using kind language not just to heal a relationship, but to maintain it will go a long way the next time what you say doesn’t come out quite right. And in the workplace, do not bring up the conflict to others. Minimize the gossip effect by treating the person you hurt with the utmost respect and courtesy. It will help the matter to blow over with minimal waves.
Finally, you have to forgive yourself. Yes, you wish you hadn’t said it, but it’s over now and you have to go on. If the relationship is worth keeping, forgiveness will come. Often a verbal slip can open the doors for a deeper communication. Because if we can’t put our foot in our mouths in front of those we love, what does that say about love? So, be kind, listen and the next time you speak, remember the power of your words and use them for the greater good.
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