Sunday, 22 December 2013

Voices Choices

Words have so much power... Especially those well chosen.

I am not one of those calm, centred people who takes the time to choose their words well when in conversation. I try to, but often forget or speak too soon or don't get what I really mean to say across. I'm too quick for my own good. I don't have a window of a few seconds to consider, ponder, choose.  I also believe that when I get into this frenetic mode of non-choosing I end up not listening either. It's really something I should work on.

One of my friends whom I admire very very much is a master at choosing her words. She speaks slowly and clearly and it seems as if every sentence that passes her lips is the best possible option for that moment in time. Sometimes there is even a palpable delay in conversation with her, but then what follows is always pleasant and thought through.  By result she is one of the kindest, most compassionate and wisest women I know. She is also a fantastic listener.

I'm better on paper, obviously due to the time it takes to write and the possibility of editing what I say.  On paper I also don't have to listen to anyone at all and my opinions can hang in the air, unedited and unaltered. Gee, writers can be egotists can't they?  That said, Most of the important relationships I have had have been created or cemented through written correspondence. There's a beauty in having all that time to choose my words.

The past two weeks have been an interesting experience in choosing words in my everyday life.  As a side effect of the flu I had in Canada I have been almost completely without a voice and therefore have been mostly living my life on mute.  Laryngitis is an inflammation of the vocal chords that prevents them from vibrating properly and the only cure is rest. Every time you speak you are prolonging your recovery, so choosing not to speak is the best medical decision.

Sometimes not speaking isn't an option though. right?

"Sera don't jump on the couch!" "Sera finish your peas!" "Sera get upstairs to bed now!" 

Wait a minute! I'm a nag! 

These weeks have taught me that indeed I do nag too much and don't choose my words with my daughter properly but also that I have other options when parenting... I don't have to talk all so much as I do at all! Instead of asking her not to jump on the couch I can simply go over an propose some other activity... Not eating her peas? Well, I can just take them away. It's not really an issue (and how would I feel if someone was nagging me to eat something on my plate anyhow?). Not going upstairs to bed? I can give her my hand and lead her up instead.... All this nagging was hurting more than my vocal chords.

And not being able to talk has also let me choose the things that really ARE important to say. 

"You did a good job." "Thank you." "I love you."

Aren't those the things worth saying every day? Laryngitis or not? Just in case someday I'm not able to say them anymore?

I'm going to take a lesson from this temporary lack of a voice, and from my friend with her slow talk and from my own internal author to be a bit more careful in he future with what I say... Maybe I'll talk less and listen more. And I'll certainly try to say much more of what's important for the people I love to hear.

All this of course, provided my voice ever decides to return!

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