Next year, I hope we all say more of what we mean

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Whether it’s talking like ironic cats that have poor grammar, saying “it’s ok” when it’s really not ok, or just not waiting until your thought is fully formed to start speaking, we all say things we don’t really mean – we just thought they sounded good at the time (inside our heads.)

So next year, I hope that we all say more of what we mean. Mind you, I’m not advocating to say every hurtful thing that pops into your head at the moment that you think it (although erring on the side of saying a few more helpful and good things probably couldn’t hurt). What I’m suggesting is that the way we say things, the content of what we say, and the sound of the actual words is much more telling than we think – so make them matter a little more next year.

Here are three things I hope to do toward this end:

Press Pause Before Speaking

I can definitely wait before speaking my mind a little bit more. I’m too often guilty of the “I really wanted to tell you everything that’s in my head” disease, when often times sitting back and waiting is the best course. So, I’ll take a breath mentally this year before I think I need to say something.

Remember, it’s hard to take words back

Angry words are the hardest to take back. If all of us think – when we’re getting angry – about the motivations and feelings of the other person in the conversation, we’re much more likely to be insightful about what’s actually going on in that person’s head at the moment. And more likely to hold our tongues when we should.

Do and say more kind things, just because you can

When I think of the most unexpected good times this year, they were all related to people going out of their way to do kind things.We can all help a friend or a neighbor either with our everyday experience, because we lend a hand, or just by providing a kind word at the right time. So try it – do more random acts of senseless kindness – and see the benefits among your friends and family. And even if you’re not feeling like it, it’s part of an overall practice of having fewer negative thoughts. (But wait – wasn’t the whole point of this post to say more of what you mean?) Yep, it turns out that researchers have a lot to say on the subject – take a listen below.

Daniel Kahneman’s Ted Talk on Happiness and Experience


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