I’ve adopted a new mantra this latter part of 2011: It doesn’t go without saying.
How did this come to be a mantra of mine you ask? Let me give you a few examples from my life (and surely yours as well):
“I just thought that went without saying.”
“I thought that’s what I was implying…”
“I assumed that was a given.”
“I thought you knew.”
Me: “AGH!!!! YOU THOUGHT WRONG!”
My experience is hardly unique in any of this, but it’s the only experience I’ve got, so that’s what you’re getting.
I am an external processor. I need a sounding board. I love brainstorming. I prefer dialogical communication. Q&A is like candy to me. It is far more unsettling to think about what a person might have on their mind and isn’t sharing vs. anything that might come out of their mouth. (Thus, it makes all the sense in the world why I not only started a blog, but also felt the need to write about talking! How much more external could my processing be?!)
I am fully aware of this mantra’s limits and am definitely not advocating verbalizing every thought that enters one’s mind. It is true that you cannot retract words spoken. Self-control is crucial. We all need to be discerning enough to know when to listen, when to choose words carefully, when to bite our tongues. But we also need to be discerning enough to know when regret or confusion or resentment or sin or all of the above will be the direct result of keeping quiet.
Logistically, I nearly lose my mind when something falls through the cracks or gets royally fumbled when it’s 100% preventable and due to a lack of communication. I’m not interested in watching the buck get passed or blame shifted. I want people to talk a thing through before it happens. YES, this can get painstakingly laborious. YES, this can border on nagging at times. YES, we all have different personalities. (Some prefer all the details in an Excel spreadsheet with a timeline attached and others pass out at the mere sight of bullet points.) However, when doing anything collaboratively, there is no getting around my mantra. Well, there is, but it’s not pretty!
Sometimes we severely underestimate what our thoughts mean to others. The voice, the perspective, the wisdom, the concern, the love within you needs to be heard more than you might realize. And it’s not always a hard conversation with a co-worker or an angsty 2 hour phone call with your sister. It’s not just a heart-to-heart with your spouse or your friend. The mantra is multi-purpose!! Everyone needs affirmation. Everyone is moved when told that their gifts are appreciated and that their work doesn’t go unnoticed. There are people around you that you admire and respect who have no idea. Who continually impresses you and would be floored to hear you say so? Who makes your life a little easier and how would they know the impact they make? Then, for the love, say so!
Say what you need to say.
(Go ahead, queue John Mayer. It’s ok. It’s a good song and is quite appropriate for this post!)
Because saying (rightly) what needs to be said is a good way to live.