Have you ever tried to literally ‘watch your mouth’?
After a teacher said this to me, I was soon trying to watch my backside due to a paddling. Note to self (and anyone else reading this) – when you are already in trouble, don’t make it worse by being silly. Ouch, ouch, ouch…
Your words are the only thing in life you have absolute control over.
While we cannot actually watch our spoken words, we can watch our written words and we can listen to what we say. It is even better to consider, and reframe, and perhaps refrain from our words before they are shared.
Do your words reflect your true self?
I did an experiment on my own word usage on a very social platform to put myself to the test. I chose a random month, August of 2011, and I read every post I made. (Granted, I did not include shares, comments, or memes/photos – I concentrated only on the letters my own fingers typed.
These are the results this little analysis:
- Out of 31 days in August, I only posted my own words 17 times on 14 days. All other posts (and there was a post almost every day) were photos, memes, shares, and Happy Birthday greetings on a friend’s page.
- Of these 17 posts, 6 were questions or requests for assistance.
- 4 posts were simply sharing information, some exciting and some not-so-exciting but still possibly helpful
- 5 posts were just plain complaining.
- 2 were random thoughts
- 2 posts were about things that nobody really cares about, i.e. “I’m going to bed”
Yes, I realize this adds up to more than 17. Some posts fit into more than one category. I also realized that I needed to change. So I set myself a challenge.
I learned a little lesson on words a while back, and it is still relevant. Just remember the word “THINK” and apply it to the words you are choosing before you say them or before you hit ‘send.’
When I apply the T.H.I.N.K. acronym to these posts, I am more than a little embarrassed at what I find.
- Is it True? I can confidently say that I did not lie about anything in these posts.
- Is it Helpful? Two were possibly helpful, announcing a neighborhood garage sale and available childcare in the area.
- Is it Inspiring? Not. A. Single. One.
- Is it Necessary? Admittedly, Facebook in itself is not necessary. Still, I applied this portion more to mean that what I wrote didn’t fall into the “Well, that was unnecessary” category. And only one fell to that level. One more than there should have been…
- Is it Kind? This one hurts. Although I wasn’t really unkind (except for probably that remark about the golf caddy – see Necessary), neither was I kind or considerate or uplifting.
Ouch, ouch, ouch again…
I had a confrontation with my conscience well over a year ago. I don’t remember the trigger, but I do recall the results. I was convicted that although I wasn’t a mean, hateful or heartless person, I was also not living up to the hype. I did not walk the talk I was teaching. I needed to make a positive transformation in my world of words.
The first step was to wait. I don’t mean I sat around and did nothing at all. WAIT is another easy way to consider your conversation.
Why am I talking (or typing)? Is it to make a particular point? Is it to share some splendid insight? Is it to offer comfort and consolation? Is it to provoke thought or make a call to action? Why am I talking?
The next move is to consider what you are consuming. What are you putting into your head and your heart?
But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Matthew 15:18-19
I had to change some habits. I had to unfollow some people. I had to find places to feed my faith and feelings. This was not difficult at all. I simply changed my focus and found myself fulfilled.
The final footstep was to share my breakthroughs with my beloved friends and followers. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Since I am a weaver of words and a social media maven, I employ these as my platforms. I created a Facebook page, Positive Post Pledge. I manage my social media to uplift and encourage as often as I possibly can, and I watch my words carefully (most of the time – I still slip occasionally because, you know, humanness…).
…and I share the positivity repeatedly and persistently and purposefully.
Will you join me?