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I Know What She Meant By That!  //  Respond To Spoken Words, Not Intentions

23 Mar Posted by in Motivational Speaker | 3 comments

As a motivational speaker, I travel a lot, so I was happy when my mother started using email. Now I can email her and still get points for that. Not as good as in person points, but still. I sent her an email this morning telling her we missed her, and we would be home soon. She replied with the words, “It’s seems like forever since we’ve seen you.” And I could just picture that expression she gets when she’s saying one thing and meaning something else entirely. I just knew that her lip was curling up, and her hand was smoothing her hair while she stares off into space, waiting for us realize we are being selfish and depriving her of her right to see her grandchild and tell us everything we are doing wrong in raising him. And immediately I bristled and became defensive. And then I stopped myself. That is not what she said. All she said was, “It feels like forever since we’ve seen you.” Sure, she might have meant something else, but that is not what she said. Life is a lot easier, and we communicate more effectively, if we just answer to what people say, instead of what we think they mean. So I answered, “You’re right. It does feel like forever.” And I left it at that. Case closed. Now I could walk around angry and call my sister for another good hearty discussion about mom. Or I could just drop it. And live my life responding to what people say, not what I think they mean by that. I think it will go a lot easier. And I mean that.

What about you? Are you in a snit over something somebody didn’t actually say? Life is too short to get worked up over the meaning behind unspoken words. And, besides, most of the time we’re wrong anyway.


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  1. Jenna03-23-12

    Are we living parallel lives? Had almost the EXACT conversation with my mom this week. I asked her if she was available to watch the grandkids while I had a meeting and she was not. I replied “That’s OK, there will be plenty of other opportunities for you to keep them when you aren’t busy.” Her response was “Well, you say that but then I NEVER get to see them”. I wish I could say I handled it as well as you did. Sigh. Grace…I need it…and I need to give it!

  2. kelly03-26-12

    I think a lot of us, Jenna, are living parallel lives. And while we strive to act with love and grace, we also constantly deal with the flesh – with being human. There will be days when we get it right – and days when we don’t. For every case like this where I actually stop and react with grace, are ten more where I didn’t. So don’t make me into the example. Let’s keep Him as the example. Thanks for posting, and hang in there. xxxooo – your wacky motivational speaker just trying to get through faith one day at a time.

  3. Polly Pitchford03-29-12

    I love this post Kelly! I don’t know if you ever heard of EST or The Forum but it was quite an “awareness movement” back in the late 80s. The most valuable thing I got out of that was just what you mentioned: What is said vs. what we think they mean. It has made my life much easier choosing the former…except when my mom says……:)

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