Today’s active reflection is about the power of our words:
When was the last time you spoke (emailed, etc.) unlovingly to someone?
What about the last time you spoke or wrote cruelly about someone?
What about people in your lives vs. strangers?
In each case, what was the root of your anger?
How can you remind yourself to promote more respectful rhetoric online, in your personal and professional interactions, and with yourself?
When was the last time I used language in a less-than-loving way? Um, yesterday.
I am not a person who is out yelling in the streets, engaging in road rage with other drivers, leaving hateful comments out on the internet, or feuding with neighbors. I am not combative, and I try to live by the maxim of "assume good intentions" when dealing with others. In my less noble moments, I remind myself of another maxim: "Never assume malice for what stupidity could explain". If people hurt you, they didn't do it out of malice, just ignorance.
But none of that means that I don't use language in a less-than-loving way. It just means that my vitriol is reserved for home, for my husband, for myself, and sometimes even for my kids. It's easier to just "assume good intentions" and let it go when the person is someone you deal with and then get a break from. It's harder to give that grace to those we rub up against all the time, those who leave their dirty socks on our floors, those who lose your flashlights over and over again, or who forget to phone home and leave you worrying about them.
And then it is hardest of all to extend grace to myself. Here I cannot "assume good intentions". I know exactly what my intentions were - and I hold myself to a very high standard. My self-talk is not kind or compassionate, which is part of my struggle to take better care of myself and climb back out of this depression.
I am working on this. True love and peace begins in the heart, and in the home.