Where Is The Pause Button?
More arguments and misunderstandings come because we “react” instead of “act”. People do not always speak the same or use the same definitions for words. Learning to hit the life pause button before reacting can often save hurt feelings and arguments.
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I am going to use examples of myself because that way no one can say I was talking about them. Son and I laugh at this because it was funny but more importantly, it shows that we do not all use the same definitions for words nor do we all read things in the same manner or talk in the same manner as everyone else. Makes life interesting but if we take the time to really listen and to ask questions before reacting, less miscommunication.
I was sitting one day at the kitchen table playing on the computer and son was cooking. I asked him how to defrag the computer and he was leading me through hollering directions over to the table while he cooked. As I clicked on things and each box opened, I finally came to one that puzzled me. I walked over to son and tapped him on the shoulder and asked him was something wrong with the sound on the computer. He looked at me so puzzled and asked me why? I said well, it says to defrag the volume and I did not understand because I thought the sound was just fine. Son looked really puzzled for a minute and then started laughing and said “Mom, that is volume as in “quantity of” files, not volume as in sound”. After we both laughed, we got to talking about how people use different definitions for different words, just as I did and the lack of communication that can occur when this happens. This fortunately was a funny example but below is one not so funny.
We were still living on the other side of the mountain and our electric bill was unusually high and had been since we lived there and I told son that we needed to have the electric company check it because something was wrong. I said it should not be this high when we are so conservative. He looked at me and said “Well, I can tell you it is not the electric company at fault”. Now, I felt myself hurt and angry because I thought he was arguing with me and both of us went back and forth a minute verbally and then I took a deep breath and said “wait …wait. Let me tell you what my brain heart and you tell me what you meant. And I proceeded to tell my son that my brain heard him say that I was the one at fault and that I was being stupid trying to blame the electric company.
If you could have seen the shocked look on my son’s face it would have said it all. He said “oh my gosh Mom, no, oh no, I was not saying that. I was saying that I thought it was something in our house and not on the electric company side. Had I not stopped and said “wait” and told him what I was feeling from his words, we could have escalated into a horrible argument.
We do not all hear exactly what is said. We hear according to what our brains interpret the words as and that is not always accurate. The one thing I do know is that when my son says something to me, even if I disagree…he says it because he cares. He may not always say it in the tone or in the words I would like, but I know it is out of love. That is what makes me hit the pause button and say “wait, wait, let me ask you or tell you what I am hearing”.
He and I have learned to say “wait” and ask the other what they meant or tell the other what our head heard so that we could tell each other what we really meant with our words. Usually what happens is people react and when we react, we say and do things we should not do and things that we can never take back…especially words. Words are the worst weapon of all.
Son and I have a wonderful relationship and we have learned…together…how to talk to each other. But, it takes a willingness to share and to say “please wait a minute, let me tell you what I heard….or “what did you mean by that?” Another example is a friend I call Big Brother. He and I are great at communicating too because we have learned to ask…before reacting. I remember using a word one time describing someone he and I both knew and he stopped me and said “can you tell me how you use that word…what definition you use” and I did. The word was “dramatic”. I said the person was “dramatic” and to him that meant “drama queen” and to me, it meant she had used a lot of dramatic hand expressions and facial expressions…very expressive. And then he told me he was glad he asked me because to him it had a more negative meaning. My simple statement could have caused an argument but because he took the time to ask me, it did not.
Life is hard enough. Before reacting, if we take the time to hit the “Pause Button” and ask what the person meant or tell them what our head is hearing, we may save ourselves a lot of grief in the long run. Life is too short for hostilities, anger, hatred and definitely for arguing over something that did not even happen but was just a difference in language meaning and word definitions. If it is someone we love, then we should know that they love us and not assume the worst. If it is a stranger, then why do we get so mad over what someone may or may not have said that we do not even know? Too bad there really is not a big red button like the “EASY” button on one of those commercials but one that says PAUSE.
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