“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!” ~ Dr. Seuss
“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on. “I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least – at least I mean what I say – that’s the same thing, you know.” ~ Lewis Carroll
Say what you mean and mean what you say. So simple….. so complicated. WHY is it that so many of us struggle to say what we mean? I have personally found that many of the people who do not say what they mean or mean what they say can fall into a few categories.
1. The kind souls. These are the people who do not mean what they say because they are terrified of hurting someone’s feelings. They will compliment a friend on a bad haircut, horrible looking outfit, or painful solo at church. They cannot imagine telling the truth because they would feel horrible if they caused any sort of pain or discomfort to others.
2. The bullies. Bullies use their words to try to manipulate and control people, but often their bluff can be called. They are the type that may say, “If you do not change my child’s grades I will sue you.” My response to a person like this is usually, “Do what you feel you have to do.” Of course, they rarely follow through, and they also lose their credibility because there is little follow through. In a play I was in an actor gave the director an ultimatum: “change my choreography, or I will quit.” The director then said, “we will miss you!” The actor was left shocked and astonished…. he had not really meant to quit, but had not thought through the consequences of his threat and he was shocked to find himself no longer in the production.
3. The people pleasers. People pleasers often tell people what they think they want to hear, rather than the truth. They want to be liked so much that they care more about producing the “right” answer in a situation than the honest answer. Little children can often fall prey to this reality.
It is FREEING to be able to say what you mean and mean what you say. A person does not need to be rude or mean, just direct and honest. I find that I am respected more when individuals know that they can count on me to be honest with them. They depend on that no-nonsense conversation. I also find that I feel happier when I am able to be honest, because I am living life in an authentic way.
I find that the kind souls are often superficial and living without deep connections, the bullies are bitter and alone, and the people pleasers have much anxiety as they have inflicted upon themselves a great responsibility for the happiness of others.
Today, 294 days ’til 40, I will continue to strive to be genuine and honest in my interactions with others. As I do so, I know that my life connections with others will be more fulfilling.