Monday, May 2, 2011

Misspoken Words

I was talking with an acquaintance today who said, "I made a careless comment that hurt someone else. I feel terrible! My heart hurts and I don’t know how to make it stop. A good friend said I did nothing wrong. He said I had no reason to feel bad because the injured party is just very sensitive. He said I should let it go because it wasn’t my fault. I love him for trying to make me feel better, but he's wrong. I must have done something terribly wrong or I wouldn’t feel so bad. I've felt like crying for hours."

I didn't know what to say.

The bad thing about words is, once spoken, they can never be retrieved. It would be nice if only we could inhale them back to where they came and erase them so they could never be heard. Mistakes are a natural part of learning—just as falling down is a natural part of learning to walk. But sometimes when we make a serious error, we find it hard to forgive ourselves for what we’ve said or done. Yet, we can't make amends if we remain in a cycle of self-blame or criticism. So we must take responsibility for our actions and do our best to resolve the situation. We must first apologize, hoping the person we hurt will forgive us. Then we must change our thoughts and behavior so we won't make the same mistake again.

I finally confided that I'm famous for saying things abruptly, before thinking how they sound. I do it so often that my family jokes about it. I told her that she'll feel better after she apologizes and that she must forgive herself. We all make mistakes!

And then I confessed that I start each day with this prayer: "Lord, please keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth!"

She laughed and said, "Thanks. I'll give it a try."


Anonymous said...

Good advice peg.

Mary Jane said...

So many times I have wished that I had 'thought' before speaking. I had an early lesson.
When I was fourteen we had some big deal with Girl Scouts. A few of us from our troop were being transported to this in a car with people we didn't know.
I was sweet on a boy who had been paying attention to another girl. I said I didn't like her. The lady I didn't know asked me why. I said, "Because she's cute." Thank the Lord that I am honest.
The lady laughed and laughed.
I was grateful for her reaction. I was speaking of her daughter.
Do you think I learned from my valuable lesson? Evidently not, because I stick my foot in my mouth... a lot.

Peggy~ said...

That's funny, Mary Jane! Sounds familiar, too. I once told a young friend of mine that a certain lady's "chest" couldn't possibly be her own because it was right under her chin! Turned out the lady was her mother! Neither of them ever spoke to me again!
I recently asked a professional man that I deal with, if he had grandchildren. It embarrassed us both when he had to tell me that he had two small children. He wasn't nearly old enough to be a grandfather.

jimbob said...

hey peg. how do you come up with all these interesting subjects? I think everyone says things they wish they hadn't. we're human. humans make mistakes. If we're smart we let it go and move on.

sam said...

Well peg. this is a good one. who hasn't said things and wished they could take them back? I sure have. I told my ex-wife that the lady next door was the sexiest woman I'd ever seen. now you know why she's my ex wife. sam

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, we all say things we wish we could take back. I ran into a neighbor in the grocery store. The first thing I asked her was, "How's your mother?" The answer shocked and embarrassed me! "She died six weeks ago."