"What's up, Tadpole?" he asked, "I see you're looking a little peaked and worried." "Gee, Dharma, does it show that much?" I replied. "I said something yesterday in anger...and in haste...and I can't take it back. I feel awful about it, too. You know I'm not the type of frog who easily angers and quickly blows off steam." "I know you're not, Irwin. Many, many others have hopped in your flippers, myself included. I've said things I've later deeply regretted. But know this. Not even the fastest frog can catch a word spoken in anger. Once something is said, my boy, you cannot take it back. Life isn't like a computer. Neither frogs nor humans come with a delete key." over breakfast I asked Dharma for advice on how to prevent this from happening again. Here is his advice.
We must weigh our words, Dharma advised, to be certain they are what we want to say and that we truly mean them. Words, either spoken or written, don't convey tone meaning they don't show character or attitude and, therefore, can easily be misunderstood. That's under the best case scenario. The possibility that our words will be misunderstood goes up dramatically when we're careless with them.
Having a little patience is one of the most important parts of good communication. A quickly said and poorly chosen word can happen in an instant but once it's out there, it's out there forever. This is especially true on social media; Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Words said hastily in anger can haunt you for years, even if it was meant in jest. Stopping to think before speaking and weighing your options is the smartest way to go.
But what happens if you, or a friend, is tact-challenged? it's a congenital defect and one that's not easily cured, says Dharma. if you or your friend is lucky, the defect is caused by a lack of compassion, empathy, and/or sympathy. The good news is that all three of these can be overcome with a little effort. Remembering to stop and think about the "other guy" and what challenges they themselves might be facing, is the first step in showing compassion, empathy, or sympathy. Put yourself in their place for just a moment. Think before speaking. The most common way to stop the speeding tongue is to pause and take a deep breath. Count to ten. Then speak, or as Dharma reminds me, "Think twice, speak once."
I asked Dharma what I should do, to try and undo my hurtful remark. His advice was to apologize; sincerely apologize and hope that the offended party will forgive me. But, he said, this incident should stand as a valuable lesson to prevent future outbursts.
Dharma and I finished our tea and chatted for a few minutes, before he hopped off to see his next pupil. As I cleared away the dishes, I decided I needed to go back to the grocery store and hope that I can find the cashier I offended. If he's not working, I'll keep checking back until I do find him. I need to make peace with him and with myself. He may not remember my face, but I have no doubt he'll remember my words.
Dharma's lesson today can be of benefit to all of us, frogs and humans. When we're hot under the collar, that is the time when we need to step aside and think before we speak or write. It's also the hardest time for us to remember to do that. Staying present and not letting our emotions get in the way is difficult, but it's also one of the most important lessons any of us can learn.
Until tomorrow, I wish you PEACE.