Welcome to Mellie's mind...

Where thoughts can be funny, can race at all hours of the day and night and can sometimes not make any sense!

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What is your message saying?

In my later years of life it became apparent to me that I had to learn to hold my tongue in certain situations rather than blurting out what was in my thoughts at any given moment.  This came to me one day when I was in the middle of a heated argument with my hubby.  The moment was so profound to me it has stuck with me all of these years, but not because he "broke me" but because I learned at that very second the way I was speaking to him was not honoring him, loving him or respecting him.  I was determined that at that moment to change how I reacted to people and how I reacted to him.

Fast forward ten years to today and I can honestly look back and say I have came along way.  I am not perfect by any means, there are many times over the past 10 years I have said things I wished I never would have said to him and to other people in my life.  But I feel that each day I do make a conscious effort to try and improve my communication and the message I'm sending. Yet one thing I failed to realize till just today, what is the message I am NOT saying?

We communicate in many ways on several different levels.  Our body language, movement of eyes, expressions on our faces, tones in our voices, even if we sigh someone can take that as an unspoken message.  But what really is on my mind today is the unspoken message of our actions.

What do my actions say to my hubby and my children? 

I have a friend who smokes, a nasty habit and one of the worse things you can do your body.  She and I have gone rounds over the reasons she should quit.  I have come to her from a point of a friendship, as an ex causal smoker, as a personal trainer, and even as an angry friend.  I have tried all the tricks in my book to try and get her to finally stop smoking.  Of course this is a decision she has to make and has to want to do but I am determined to be the angel on her shoulder bugging her till she finally quits.  My point to her yesterday when speaking to her about the habit was what was her unspoken message to her daughter and husband by continuing to smoke?

She had no idea what I was speaking of until I dove deeper into the conversation.  I told her that because she has chosen a terrible habit that brings nothing positive to her life and future she was telling her husband and daughter that her needs were more important than theirs.  By continuing to jeopardize her life she was telling her husband that it did not matter to her that he could be facing a future as being a single dad.  She was telling him he could face a future with a wife who has to use a voice box to speak.  She was telling him that she didn't care his future could possibly be in a cancer treatment center week after week trying to fight for her life.  She was telling him she didn't care that their income may be jeopardized or their savings may be dwindled because he would have to pay for her care.  All these things she was telling him because she was being selfish and choose to continue this horrific habit because "she enjoys smoking."  She was telling her daughter, "Do as I say, not as I do."  She was telling her daughter that her needs at this moment to smoke were more important to her than all her daughter's future needs as she grew up.  All these message to her family were unspoken by her actions.  This message in some deep way, regardless if we want to admit it or not tells the other party... "I don't really care what you think, I don't really respect you either because I am willing to put my own needs before yours."

These sort of actions hold true in other areas of our lives as well.  Take my other friend who is married.  Her husband works for a company that the majority of the employees are female.  He is a respectable man who is well liked and looked up to at his employment.  My friend will go to his office almost weekly to have lunch with her husband, it's a time for her to break away from their newborn son and a time for her and her husband to connect.

For the past few years there has been a woman at his employment that has treated my friend with nothing but rudeness and disregard.  My friend tells me she is friendly with all her husband's employees and goes out of her way to do nice things for them but this one woman, in particular, is flat out rude to her. My friend is very secure in her marriage and herself and knows that not everyone has to like her but what bothers her is her husband's unspoken message to her as his wife.

Her husband, of course being this woman's boss, is friendly with the woman.  They work side by side everyday together and as well all know we all want to get along with the people we work with.  However my friend's frustration comes from her husband going above and beyond to be friendly with this employee knowing the way she treats his wife.  He has seen the employee be dismissing to his wife, he has heard the comments the employee makes about his wife yet continues to go out of his way to be friendly with the employee at company events with the wife by his side.  There have been occasions where the husband has assisted the employee in personal matters to help resolve issues she was going through.  These unspoken words, his actions, tell my friend that her husband is not concerned with the fact that this employee disrespects his wife.  When her husband does things for this employee the message she gets is that the employees' needs are more important than the wife's feelings.  That is his unspoken message to his wife. And his unspoken message to this employee and his other employees is "You don't have to respect my wife, and I will still go above and beyond for you as friends." 

I think these two examples are very good starting points for the rest of us to reconsider how our unspoken messages are coming across to the ones we love.  Sitting back and thinking about these examples has helped me identify some areas in my life and marriage that I know I need to change right away.  I realize now the words that come out of my mouth to express how I feel towards my hubby, my children and my friends are not as important as my actions.  My actions need to ring louder than my words.  Today I am going to work on improving my unspoken messages.


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