Heartwings Love Notes          

 

 

Heartwings Love Notes 909: How You Say It Matters

Heartwings says, "Not what you say but how you say it determines the outcome."

All over the country friends and families will gather for the holidays. It is nice to see people that we don't often spend time with, and it is also a treat to renew acquaintance or even form new bonds with seldom seen relatives. Good moods and happy smiles are the norm; however, perhaps there will also be reactions from people who have not seen each other recently or even for quite a while. People may have gained or lost weight, hair, or height. They might be better or worse off. Invariably, these things may provoke comments. Older people, especially may be vocal in their observations.

When I was growing up, I was always tall for my age. I remember being told more than once that someone ought to put a flatiron on my head so I didn't get any taller. To this day I wonder, as I did then why it was bad to get any taller. Most relatives as well as friends comment on children's height or physical appearance when they see them after an interval. This can be embarrassing for a child that is at all self-conscious. Comments to other adults can be tactless as well. "Have you lost weight? You look so much better." Stop and think how that reflects on someone's prior appearance.

There is a teaching tale that comes to mind when I consider this subject: It seems there was once an emperor who wished to know how long he might live. He called all his wise men together—today we might call them his councilors, and asked them his burning question. They shook their heads and murmured amongst themselves. How could they tell? Finally, after much discussion they appointed one of them to give him an answer. "Your majesty," he began. "You will live a very long life." The emperor smiled. "So long," the man went on. "that everyone you love will die before you."

The emperor's smile changed to a thunderous frown. "Take him away," he shouted, "and cut of his head." The other wise men quailed and murmured amongst themselves. Finally, they appointed another to speak up. He bowed low and said: "You will live a long life, your Majesty. So long that you will outlive all of your friends and relations."

The emperor smiled broadly and waved his hand. "Reward that man with a bag of gold," he said. Notice that both men gave the emperor the same information. One of them, however said it a better way.

Here is another appropriate story. A beloved woman who was popular with everyone that knew her was asked the secret of her popularity. "I don't rightly know about that," she said, "but what I can tell you is I always try to taste my words before I speak them to make sure they taste sweet." That is good advice, and I try to follow it. In the days when I was somewhat clueless about my speech, I remember being told I had been rude or even ill spoken. I had to learn to be tactful, and it was not easy. I have had plenty of foot-in-mouth experiences in my life; it's embarrassing. There is enough sorrow and anguish in this world; kind words and pleasant smiles are always welcome. My grandmother used to say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. I would substitute "kind" for "nice."

May your holiday gatherings be fun and enjoyable, filled with smiles and happiness.

P.S. If you have stories or comments, I would be so glad to receive them. Your emails make my day and I am most grateful for them. I will be sure to answer you, though it may take time.
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I love to hear from readers and would be honored if you would comment and let me know any suggestions or thoughts. If a friend sent you this, you can sign up at my web site, www.heartwingslovenotes.com, where more love notes can be found in the archives.

Blessings and Best Regards,
Tasha Halpert
 

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