Don’t Say It…Don’t Say It

Mark Twain
Mark Twain on the Brain…with Paul McCartney

Yes, in the title of this post, I’m borrowing from Paul McCartney and Wings, but I’m inspired by Mark Twain. Quite a combo, right?  😉

The Paul McCartney & Wings 1979 hit,Goodnight, Tonight” includes a catchy chorus of “Don’t Say It…Don’t Say It” and I confess, it’s the musical score that bounces in my brain when I’m biting my tongue, resisting the urge to respond – typically with a jab.  Good to get the last word in, right?  

Earlier this week I spent a meditative moment mulling over creative compulsion – my need to express myself, use my words. 

Today?  I’m noodling on the importance of knowing when to shut up, Mark Twain style:

“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”

Yes! A short and sweet lesson that I need to remember – especially related to interpersonal communication.  (Or for that matter,  INTRApersonal – the maddening inner dialogue that runs continuously between my ears.)    

Interpreting Twain’s quote, I feel this:  Don’t respond, take the bait.  Let it roll…it’s okay. Pauses ARE good.  Time to reflect, consider our words.  Yep. 

But I also think it’s okay to do more than pause.  Not engaging at all is the best course of action, at times.  A lesson I’m still learning, punctuated with an ear-worm of a soundtrack, courtesy of Paul McCartney. Sing along with me, “Don’t Say It, Don’t Say It”…

Smiles!

-Vicki 😊

Words Matter

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

I continue to be fascinated by language.  Especially brief bursts – words and phrases, strung together that can be interpreted in endless ways.  Knowing the source, considering the context IS essential because often, the words themselves are bare and lacking.  What’s the tone and intent?  The distinction between supportive and dismissive can be subtle.

In conversations, we can typically tease out the nuances.  Friendly or fierce?  Helpful or harried?  Short messages – whether they’re missiles that come via text or an email (or a blog post!) can be hastily written.  Tone, intent, context. They matter. 

“Do what you’ve got to do” is such a phrase.  This week, those six words in a text exchange started a relationship tussle for a couple I know and it took them several days to unpack the hurt. 

Why? Do what you’ve got to do” is tricky. Is it an endorsement?  Go forth – with my blessing?  Hard to say.  Offered with a nod and a smile, it might convey just that.  I’m supportive.  You’ve got this

Offered with a shrug and a prickly ‘I don’t care’ overtone, it’s dismissive.  A conversation closer for sure and that’s how the receiver took the message.  “I don’t matter” she thought.  Channeling past hurt because she was tired, she spiced up the intent and added tone to the text message that wasn’t intended.

How are they now?  All is well.  Just a blip for them – all smoothed over.  Me?  It gave me something else to ponder.  Words matter.  Communication clarity.  We’re all a work-in-progress, eh?

-Vicki