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If you don’t have something nice to say Denver Counseling Options Lori Jackson

If You Don’t Have Something Nice to Say … Find Another Way to Say It

By Lori Jackson

I am finding more and more that people who were raised with the motto, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” are really getting screwed. Fortunately for me, I had a mother who was feisty and didn’t care who she pissed off. If you treated her bad (or her children), you best step aside or look out, cause she’s a-coming. Mind you, I often felt embarrassed and hid myself when my mom was pissed because, frankly, the woman looked like a mad lady at times. But I loved that she taught me to speak up and state my piece. So, in my own way, I have found an uncanny ability to gently tell people off. Yup — you got it. I have found a way to tell someone he or she is being a complete asshole without actually calling names or making myself look like an asshole.

I am willing and going to share. You’re welcome! 🙂

In my work, I find that one of the hardest things for people is to be able to say how they really feel. So one of two things happens: they either say it and come across like jerks themselves (most of the time because they waited way too long to speak up, so they snap and the receiver had no idea it was coming), OR … they don’t say ANYTHING; they just tuck it away and store it inside. This is the cause of anxiety, people.

Anxiety (in my professional opinion) is the manifestation of us being unable to express ourselves, so we tuck it away and our body begins to say, “What the … I didn’t ask for that. Seriously, what are we doing with all of this stuff?” This is why, often, when we “finally let it out,” we feel like a “giant weight was lifted off of our shoulders.” Come on, we know the quotes and age-old sayings. Keeping it in simply pisses our bodies off.

So here are a few tips on how to get it out without being an ass.

  1. Let the receiver know you are trying to be honest and gentle. Explain yourself before going into conversations. Let them know this is not going to be a fight, and if it heads that direction, step away and come back later. Speak from a vulnerable and honest place. Every time the person tries to insult you or hurt you, explain that you are not here to be mean, and that you will gladly talk if you can keep it nice.
  1. Talk from your heart. Don’t begin any statement with you did this or you should do that or why can’t you X, Y, Z. Talk about how you take their statements or comments. Let them know how you hear it, and ask if this is what they mean. The more you stay on how you feel and not throw ­­­­­out jabs and accusations, the more successful the conversation is going to be.
  1. Know that most people — especially the ones you love — are not out to hurt you. If you’re doubting the “especially the ones you love” part of that sentence, please re-evaluate your relationships and decide whether they are even good for you. Hurt people hurt. So, if you are hurting, you are likely to say something hurtful to someone. And vice versa. Keep this in mind when you are trying to speak your mind. Most of the time, what they said to you has nothing to do with you. This Yogi Bhajan puts it well: “If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.” It means, don’t take it personally. That person is hurt and must hurt to heal, so you can set a boundary, tell them not to hurt you, and that you love them.
  1. Kill ’em with kindness. My dad always used to say this to me. I tried it a few times in high school and boy, did it work! People feel like total jack asses when they treat you badly and you kindly tell them it’s not OK for them to talk to you that way and you’d appreciate it if they’d stop. This actually works — I promise. If someone speeds by you only to meet you at the stop light, look at them, wait for them to look at you and wave with a nice genuine smile. See how they respond when they learn that you are a human driving that car.
  1. Set a limit when you have had enough. Recently, I had a giant slap in the face with the lesson of helping others who cannot help themselves. No matter what you say or do, there are going to be people who cannot hear it, nor change it, because they are not ready. Step away from these people. Do not convince them, others or yourself that you can help by speaking your mind. Toxic is toxic. Notice, embrace it, honor it, then walk away before you think you are unique in being able to cure cold hearts. You are not. And because I am a warm heart, I share this lesson with you and love you for walking away.

All in all, life is too short to not speak your mind. If you can’t say something nice, evaluate what you need to say and find a different way to say it. Talk it out more, don’t give up and always be true to your heart. You’ll go so far. I promise. Hugs to you all. xo

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