Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, but a man with understanding keeps silent. ~ Proverbs 11:12 (HCSB)
I have learned as I get older — I am nearing forty — that my built-in filter is not as strong as it used to be. Previously, I measured every single word by what kind of impression it would make, but I was beginning to feel so oppressed that I let my filter slip. Is it an “age thing”? Do we feel like it’s okay to say our “honest opinion” more as we get older? Is it a “moral thing”? Was I more conscious of other people’s feelings when I was younger? I don’t know the answer, but I do know that it’s not always a good thing when my filter fails. I don’t want to be afraid to express my opinion in a civil and kind manner, but I don’t want to be so blunt that I’m cruel. Verbal cruelty has always been a sensitive spot for me so I don’t want to do the same thing to someone else.
In a continuance of my Back Again post, I’m not going to delete my last blog post because I’m trying to learn from my mistakes. Erasing them doesn’t teach me anything so I’m leaving it right where it is. I’m leaving it because it’s my honest opinion, but I’m also leaving it because I want it to remind me that I was judgmental and spiteful.
Here is what I learned as proof that I’m never too old to learn:
- Just because it’s my honest opinion does not mean that I need to express it.
- It’s possible to express an honest opinion without being so openly critical.
- I should take care when expressing an honest opinion to strike the balance between honesty and kindness.
- Erasing my mistakes just puts them out of sight and out of mind, and I learn nothing from that.
I also don’t like that my last blog sounded self-righteous – as if I was the only person capable of keeping the peace where I work. How arrogant on my part! The reality is that every single person in that department is a part of the “working waltz” every day, and I am so grateful to all of them even when they irritate me. I hope they feel the same way about me even when I irritate them!
I want to be certain that my filter is always working even if I don’t always need to use it. A friend of mine once said that I was just coming into my own when my filter didn’t seem to be working, and I appreciated the observation. However, I don’t ever want to hurt someone by failing to use my filter when I need to use it. I want to have an open dialogue with anyone around me, and I want everyone to feel comfortable talking to me. It’s my responsibility to use that filter properly. Filter on, filter off – just so long as it’s on or off at the right times.
By the way, I appreciate the observations from this blog post by Victoria at Snail Pace Transformations. That’s where I found the verse that I used.
Listening to right now: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Books of the Bible I’m currently reading/studying: II Chronicles and I Samuel