Caring words are the best response when things get heated

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by Ari Anderson |

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It seems that I have a problem with knowing when to speak up right away and when to wait a brief moment before I say something.

In a recent column, I explained how I have feelings of remorse when I say or do something I think was taken the wrong way. Plus, I wait too long to talk to others about possible misunderstandings I think might exist. It’s not that I don’t want to clear things up, it’s just that I fret over what to say.

Then, when I finally talk things out, the other person usually tells me that whatever I said or did wasn’t a big deal in the first place, at least from their perspective.

These are situations I care a lot about. There’s nothing wrong with caring because it shows that your heart means well. However, as I wrote in that column, it’s probably not a good idea to sit with something for weeks or months like I do, while worrying about how someone has perceived what you said or did. If you want to know what they think and work things out, just talk to them whenever you feel like you need to.

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Digging deeper

This is a profound topic that I think is worth exploring more. Let’s turn it around, though. What if instead of me believing that someone else had a misunderstanding, I’m the one who took things the wrong way? Am I still slow to say anything?

Unfortunately, when I take things the wrong way, I become angry. When I say things out of anger instead of a place of caring, that’s when I react too quickly. The more people lash out in anger, the more they risk damaging their reputation. I’ve risked this possibility way too many times. Without any consideration, I’ll send an impolite text message or email to someone.

I suppose a lot of you who know me or regularly read my writing are surprised to find out that I have that side to my personality. I surprise myself in a negative way in these situations.

I’m thankful that I have a couple people in my life who can get real with me and tell me when I go too far with my words. Both my mom and my sister have discussed this with me. Oh, the shame I feel when I hear that my words have torn people down! This is especially true when I know it could have been prevented if I had just waited until my anger cooled off before I said anything.

It’s not easy doing damage control after I’ve said something negative. I work so hard to support the people who support me by making them cards and other creative projects that show my appreciation. I need to keep reminding myself that a lot of that good work can be undone by one heated exchange in communication.

It shows that just because I have SMA doesn’t make me invulnerable to the destructiveness that anger can bring. As 1 Peter 5:8 says, I need to be “vigilant” against anger and not give in to the temptation of saying something I’ll regret while I’m upset.

I usually get over much of the anger I have toward someone in a couple hours. It’s definitely not easy, but if I could use some willpower to avoid saying something damaging during that short amount of time, I’d have a much better chance of working things out with that person.

It is my belief that such strength and willpower is attainable with a lot of prayer. If God can give me the strength to force myself to cough out mucus during vest percussion treatments, then he can give me the willpower to cool my temper before I talk to someone.

Caring words heal

It’s good to clear up any misunderstandings or hurt feelings you have with someone as soon as possible, instead of waiting weeks or months. If you’re going to use words of anger, though, you won’t get much accomplished. Words of caring can build bridges and heal wounds. If you’re still angry after the initial sting of the first couple hours, try at least to be civil to the other person.

If you subtract anger from a lot of your conversations, you’ll be surprised at how effortlessly many problems can be solved. Your happiness level will soar!

Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

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