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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

The old saying that actions speak louder than words is one that, like many of our colloquial sayings, is based on a fundamental truth. In this case, the principle is that it is both naive and dangerous to take someone at his or her word before checking out the person's previous track record.

Sadly however, many people do not appear to be aware that making an assumption about what a person is meaning based on their actions, without first checking out what they are saying is equally stupid. In the past year I have encountered a number of family and business relationships that have blown apart over simple misunderstandings that were not checked out before taking offence.

It may come as a shock to you that all people do not think and act the same way that you do. Just because you would mean something if you said or did something does not mean that someone else would mean the same if they said or did the same thing.

If you are not prepared to consider any perspective other than your own as being valid or true, then you are likely to find yourself in one of two situations. The first possibility is that you can end up living in reaction to other people, constantly taking offence where none was intended.
The second possibility is that you will find that other people will not allow you to get close to them. If you are going to believe what you see without considering what they are saying or trying to tell you then they will initially shut you out emotionally and not talk to you and if it goes on for long enough they will leave you. There is little more frustrating than trying to convince someone that you did not mean what they assumed and not being able to convince them that they have got it wrong.

If you are mature enough to consider that others may have meant something different from what you would have meant if you had said or done that, you will check out their meaning before you take offence. If they did mean to get at you, then defend yourself if you wish, but if they had a different intention then why waste your time and energy being angry at something they never intended.

Some points to ponder:
  • People can change and grow be careful about locking someone into their past.
  • Before taking offence, first check out their intentions.
  • We tend to judge other people by their actions and ourselves by our intentions.
  • Do not take everything personally – their comments may be telling you more about them than about you.

 
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