It’s no surprise to most of us that in some circumstances, like when you experience loss, words fall short.
Yet, while we can see this happening, instead of changing our expectations about what words can and can’t do for us, we keep looking for the “right thing to say.”
Recently, I was talking to my sister about her relationship - or rather the one she was pursuing. To my big sister pride, she had declared how she felt, and as many of us fear, the response she got wasn’t exactly what she was hoping for. It was a lukewarm, brush off that diverted the conversation to other things.
At the end of the talk with my sister as she walked passed me, I said, “I’m sorry.”
And then I thought, “Those are such stupid words to use in this scenario. Why am I sorry? I wasn’t even a character in this situation. There was nothing I did. In Spanish I would have said “Lo siento,” and that’s when the truth about words became clear to me.
We use words to try to communicate the ways we feel about the world.
So many times they fall short.
And honestly that’s fine.
We actually shouldn’t expect them to work perfectly all the time.
But regardless of what we expect from words, we should expect from ourselves that we do what it takes to clearly communicate our message.
In my case, what I was trying to communicate actually made more sense with the words from Spanish which mean, “I feel that.”
I was trying to say “I’ve felt this way too before, and I know it’s hard and I feel that you are feeling this hard feeling right now. It’s sad, and you will be ok, and I want you to know that I have felt this way too.”
Since I know that’s what I am really trying to say, even if “I’m sorry” doesn’t really say that, I can keep trying to communicate my message of solidarity in OTHER WAYS.
Like make her favorite food for lunch so I can show her that someone does love her and care about what she likes, even if it’s not the person she had hoped right now.
Or giving her some space and then going back up and asking if she wants to talk more or go to the library and find a good movie to borrow instead so she isn’t alone this Friday night and not wondering why she isn’t on a date.
But if I just expected my words to be the only way I could communicate that message, I might end up doing something that actually makes the situation worse.
For example, I could go hang out with my boyfriend because that’s more fun and leave her alone in her room.
The key is that when you are in a situation when there are no words, your actions can communicate where words can’t.
While it might feel easier to have a pocket book full of sayings you can pull out at any time that can communicate what you feel in a flash, it’s more important that you commit to keep trying to share, over and over again. Because when words aren’t enough when you keep trying, you are showing that you are here for them with your actions as much as any words could say.
Find out the single best way to restore real relationships so that you become surrounded by people who get what you've gone through and seek you out to help them. Click here.
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