The Words We Say

I was clever enough in my formative years to know that I usually knew the correct answer. I was not clever enough to know that there could be more than one right answer. And I absolutely did not allow myself the cognitive space to decide for myself. I knew what I had been taught: good girls said/acted/thought this and that was that. 

With personality differences within my household I began to tease out opinions from fact, but it was in the early stages of intellectual independence at best. That beginning has come back to be helpful now, as I’m able to differentiate a personality quirk from doctrine or culture, but as for my personal development it was wholly inadequate. 

Thus I found myself in my mid twenties saying things I had been taught to say and only barely beginning the process of thinking how I felt. Usually the reflection didn’t even happen until after some push back from someone who challenged my assertions. I’m so grateful for that. It stung every time I realized I had said something I hadn’t studied and couldn’t stand behind, but it provided the push I needed to be real with myself. It still stings when I think back on those things; it takes a lot of compassion to forgive yourself of prior stupidity. 

For all those times I was ridiculously wrong, painfully tone deaf, or outright insensitive I’m sorry. And because of that I hope that many of the ridiculously wrong, painfully tone deaf, or outright insensitive things I hear others say are equally premature statements. We are learning and growing, our opinions evolving over time. 

So let me be clear about how I really feel. I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I’m still learning but I hope that every time I am wrong in the future it is because I erred too much on the side of compassion. I have so far to go, but I’m trying to think before I speak. Other people’s talking points are no good for me. 

2 thoughts on “The Words We Say

  1. Who says that once you reach adulthood, you know everything you’re going to know? I’ve learned so much more about myself since I’ve been a mother than I ever could have imagined when I was a teenager who knew everything. Every day there is something new and challenging to me. Sometimes it’s really hard, and sometimes it’s really rewarding.

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