The words were spoken in passing but now they are on repeat in my head. The words fill my mind and crowd out other thoughts. I play them over and over with the same questions spinning.
- Why did they say that?
- What did they mean by that?
- What did I do wrong?
Hurtful words can be spoken to us by those we love, those we know and even people we don’t know.
Simple words spoken in passing can sometimes stir up issues in us without us even understanding why.
Think about the power we give to words spoken.
Life and death are in the power of our words. (Proverbs 18:21)
When words of life and love are spoken, we feed off the sweet fruit of them. Our spirits are lifted and the nourishment seeps down to our souls and fills us with a good feeling.
But when words, unkind and hurtful, are spoken they turn sour in our stomachs and we feel sick to the core.
At times I find myself stewing over words spoken. Simmering over the implications of what I think they meant.
The more I let them stew, the more I digest and allow them to feed my soul with untruth. I find in my stewing I can imagine whole conversations. My mind obsesses over these flippantly spoken words…or maybe they weren’t meant to be flippant? (I can stew over that as well.)
I have been guilty of imagining whole conversations in my head and getting worked-up over words imagined in my own made-up conversation. (Please say I’m not the only one who does this!)
It’s like I’m standing over the stove of this conversation and stirring the pot of this small communication, yet as I feed it the heat of my emotions, it’s soon boiling over and I’m all worked up.
The fear of confronting issues keeps us in the place of wondering instead of understanding.
So, friends, how do we move from wondering to understanding?
Here are some beginning steps that have helped me when I find myself stewing over words:
- Evaluate and walk through the scenario with open eyes.
- Slowing our thoughts down, taking a step back and looking honestly at the scenario can help defuse the situation.
- What is really bothering me about this conversation?
- Is there something going on with me that I’m not considering?
- Ask myself: “Is this person going through something that could be bothering them?”
- Taking myself out of the picture and looking through maybe what they are dealing with can help me see that maybe this had nothing to do with me at all.
- Quiet my own emotions before speaking
- Heading into a conversation with emotions high can lead to over-sharing, over-analyzing and over-the-top boiling.
- Quieting our own emotions, thinking through our thoughts and clearing our minds of assumptions can make for a better conversation.
- Ask myself, “Am I willing to forgive even if an apology isn’t offered?” Forgiveness is releasing others of an obligation to us. Forgiveness frees us from bitterness and holding a grudge. It releases us to move on from the conversation and grow from it.
I have found after these steps I can evaluate the following:
- Do I need resolve to this?
- Does this warrant a conversation? -or- Was I overly sensitive in the moment and this had more to do with me than the other person?”
- How can I best communicate with this person about this situation? (Just a little suggestion here: Social media, texting or email will not yield the best results. Sitting down face-to-face will produce better understanding and communication!)
Letting go of offense and moving forward is healthy for our emotional and spiritual self. Finding healthy ways to do that are important.
I have met many who are holding grudges from words spoken years, months and even moments ago. Let’s not allow our own stewing over words rob us of relationship with others.
One who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but one who repeats or gossips about a matter separates intimate friends. ~ Proverbs 17:9 (AMP)
Letting go can be difficult, I know. I’ve had to do it myself. But I know when I let the offense go… even if they didn’t know… my letting go brought me freedom from holding it and stewing over it. When I forgave and let it go, a lightness… like a breath of fresh air came back to my own heart and mind.
I want us to have great relationships and good communication. This is just one way to get there and live a better life.
Sending you love and praying for you!
Have a great week, friends!