“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3
Words cannot be taken back, once they are spoken, nor the thoughts and feelings they have communicated. They are there, and those who have received the communication have instantaneously begun to develop their own thoughts and feelings based on what they’ve heard. It is too late to change things.
At a recent conference I attended, we participated in an exercise in which we had to listen to a partner, not to respond with our own advice, but to simply be able to restate what they were telling us, and communicate back to them what they were experiencing or feeling about what they told us, in order to understand them. Usually, when we converse with someone, our immediate response is to start developing a response before they’ve even finished talking. It’s not easy to listen, and then restate what someone else has said without adding our own opinion.
It will be my goal, particularly this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, to seek to understand everything before opening my mouth to say anything.