With Intent

The same acts or the same words can have radically different effects, depending on their place and timing, and especially on motivation. I learned long ago that when anyone seemed to condescend or demean me in some way, I ought to take care before I assumed the worst. Before I assumed a meaning in the moment that might have no reality at all.

How does anyone learn such things? Nearly always, by making mistakes themselves. I could never begin to count the times when a thing I said lightly or jokingly was taken as a slight or a thing I did casually, without a thought, had entirely unwanted and unforeseen consequences not just for me but for others, too.

Yet I have not learned so well that I don’t continue to kick up dust with my clumsy mistakes and thoughtless remarks. My only hope is that the rest of the world can be far less foolish and thin-skinned than I, and that the day can come when I will focus my speech and deeds  with such intent that they will build up rather than tear down, heal instead of harm, and encourage and support but not offend.

It is, in fact, my intent to improve with age, in what I say and do. And in giving others credit for trying, too, to do their best. Even if we all slip up from time to time. And we will.

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We are the ultimate explosives. Human beings? Mushroom clowns.

What Not to Say and When to Say It

I know, I know: I’m remarkably gifted. I have a peculiar talent for saying just the wrong thing at any given opportunity, to the degree that some might think I’d developed a fondness for the flavor of my own toes. I just say what I think, and it’s often not the most politic or informed approach to do so.photoThe upside of the equation is that I have no power or influence, so most of the time there is little danger or harm in my being quite so thoughtless and flippant. Most of the time there isn’t anyone who will take offense or any business that will be tanked by my foolish unedited blundering. Much of the time, it’s as obvious as the dumb things I say that no damage will come of it.antique book page (photo)Still, I know how much power one tiny little word or deed gone astray can have. So I keep trying, knowing that there may be those who think themselves even smaller, weaker and less significant than me and who can be vulnerable to the slightest scratch from an unvarnished remark. If I get lucky, being slow to reveal my dull wits and blunt feelings will become my real trademark and even if no one knows it to thank me I will be able to feel grateful myself for having sidestepped a pointless unkindness. It’s worth a try.photoGood thing everyone’s so generally forgiving, in the meantime.