How to Watch What You Say

Watch What You Say
Watch What You Say

by Dorothy Wehunt

Have you ever said something you had to take back? Most of us have. Would you like to “Watch What You Say” easily?

Sometimes we say things that come out wrong. Or that we mean one way and another person interprets it another way. Sometimes it is funny, and people laugh with us. And other times, we admit we “Put our foot in our mouth,” and laugh at ourselves hoping others will laugh with us.

Then, there are other times, “Think before ‘we’ speak!” might be a good thought to hold. Or “Watch what you say, it may come back to haunt you.”

Watch What You Say and Escape Eating Your Words.

“Don’t say never.” is a saying that helps us to avoid eating our words. Or keeps our words from coming back to haunt us.” For example, a person might say,” I’ll ‘never’ buy a particular car.”  Yet, a model comes out that he thinks is the prettiest one on the road. Or a friend becomes a salesperson for that car, and you buy it. In this situation, eating our words might not be too difficult.

Yet, other times, a person may have difficulty swallowing his words. For example, a parent may say, “My child would never do that.” And later they learn their child did or does do it.

Beware What You Promise
Watch What You Promise

Beware Promises to Watch What You Say and Save Face.

Beware of what you say you will or won’t do.” A person saying that he will do something and not doing it can haunt him as much as what he says he will not do. And sometimes more than. He may experience negative repercussions. If he promises to complete a task and does not, he may receive negative feedback. Or even worse consequences.

Sometimes following through takes more time or energy than a person can give. It might spread a person thin where he cannot give his attention to what he has promised. Yet, the person does need to let the other person know so he can make other arrangements to complete the task 

A person may say things without thinking because he feels bad. Or because he is frustrated that he feels bad. Or because he is under stress. This is the time we need to “watch what we say” the most people do not usually think as well under these conditions. 

We need to say, “I’m not thinking clear. I don’t want to say something that isn’t appropriate.”  

Watch What You Say and Avoid Hurt.

We want to avoid saying things that can hurt others, even if it is true. Some people feel the truth or what is factual is not offensive. For example: Some people may find past family behaviors, values, or events interesting. Or humorous. Or enlightening information to solve or prevent future family problems. Others may find the truth offensive.

There may be times that a person may feel another person needs to hear the truth. Or certain information. Yet, it is important how the person presents the information to another for him/her to perceive it for his/her good.

Comments given in anger or as a put-down do not usually help a person to improve. Thus, they are not constructive. Scolding comments, particularly between adults, do not persuade their point of view. It they come from jealousy, they come from bias. Thus, a person wants to rethink them before sharing them. If we remember that each of us does have our own likes and dislikes, positive qualities, values, needs and wants, flaws, we will be judicious in what we say.  

Of course, avoiding accusations, particularly unfounded ones, protects our dignity and prevents conflict. And even indirect ones. Yet, a person who makes an indirect accusation wonders why it incenses another’s reaction. Or a group of people.

Live with Integrity

Watch What You Say and Protect Your Dignity.

Living with integrity can help us to avoid having to eat our words and can give each of us self-esteem. A person does not want to say what he knows is not correct or promise what he knows he cannot deliver. He does not want to do anything that goes against his values and lose respect with himself.

 A person promises things that he knows he cannot or will not deliver because he feels the person expects of him. Or because he wants to make a good impression. Or because he wants to ingratiate himself with another person. He does not realize that this will, more than likely, cause him to lose his integrity with others.

 And he may not realize that, as a result, he may lose integrity with himself if he values their opinion. This person may need to look at his priorities to protect his relationships with others. Particularly his significant other or those close to him. Thus. his relationship with himself and his dignity. If a person has said something that is not true, he wants to correct it as soon as possible. Especially if it can affect his integrity and dignity with others. Or with himself. A person taking back what he says can restore or salvage integrity and sometimes it does not. The speed with which a person corrects the mistake can affect his recovery.

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©Dorothy Wehunt and 2022.