Deb Sofield

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Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.

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Recently I overheard a heated argument in which one of the players was verbally harsh to the other, and gave them what we’d call a standing down, told them off—gave them a piece of their mind. It was so sad to see the immediate crush of the other person’s spirit. It was shocking and unsettling and simply heartbreaking at the same time.

I am not around people who yell. I didn’t grow up with anyone who yelled in our family—it just wasn’t allowed—and when I witness the outburst of anger that is carried by one’s raising of their voice, it rattles my insides, upsets my psyche and makes me jittery…and I had nothing to do with the fight. It’s just how I respond.

I don’t like yelling. I don’t like to be around people who think that it’s acceptable to yell, and I’m sorry to say that I have been witness to more than my share of watching people come unglued, so when I see this kind of behavior, I am reminded of the old saying that I grew up with.

Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.

I came across an interesting truism about yelling; it goes like this.

One day, an elder put this question to his friends:

Why do people yell when they argue?

One of them said, we are yelling because we are losing our temper.

The elder said, but why scream when the other person is right next to you?

Another one answered, we yell to make sure that we hear each other.

The elder said, couldn’t we talk more slowly, with a more quite voice?

Then everyone was silent…

The elder answered his question this way: Do you know why we yell at each other when we are angry? The truth is that when two people argue, their hearts distance greatly. To cover this distance, they have to shout, to be able to hear each other. The more angry, the bigger the distance – they need to speak much louder.

On the other hand, what happens when two beings are in love? They do not scream at all. They speak slowly, gently. Why? Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is very small. Sometimes, their hearts are so close that they don’t even have to speak, only whisper. And when love is even more intense, there is no need to even whisper, it takes only a look and their hearts know. This is what happens when two beings love each other, their hearts are close.

That look of love part is the part of the story I like—the idea that you can simply look at someone and they know without a shadow of a doubt that they are loved and accepted for who they are.

Do you remember those days? Yeah, I know, that was a long time ago, before the kids, the house, the business, the loss, the joy, the pain… those were the good old days.

I like that parable, because it is true, and it fits in well with my theme for today that Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.

In fact, not only will your days be a bit happier, the hardships of life will be a lot easier to deal with if you can get this truth right. And if hard decisions need to be made this holiday season for you or your family, your marriage, your future, could I ask you to consider this option? Would you consider giving just a small piece of your heart to spare some small part of the other’s heart to lessen the blow of the emptiness that will be coming?

Today’s message isn’t in keeping with the season, per se, but I have heard about more heartbreak this past week than I have heard in months, and I am saddened by what has happened to good, kind people that are dealing with the pain of the loss of their marriage, and others who this season are experiencing the loss of their children—not by death, but by their anger. The kids have abandoned their parents

I don’t know what it is about the holidays that brings the greatest stress to people. Without a doubt Hollywood and Madison Avenue have added to the cost of the season, and financially it is hard. The dealing with family you only see a few times a year is uncomfortable, because you’re seeing the aging of parents and the needs of their situation. Kids are on display, when all they want to do is sleep and see “their friends” and the TV version of a happy home looks nothing like where you live. It’s hard, no doubt about it. Then you add to that the reality of life and questionable judgment that led to a poor decision and it just spirals out of control, until you land on your back looking up, so now you have to choose to get up or get out.

I started out by telling you that I witnessed the most horrific exchange between two people who, I suppose, at one time promised to honor and cherish each other. Now, due to the length of time or lack of love or broken promises, they are now a hate-filled, ugly shell of the person they used to be, unrecognizable to all who see them, who at one time loved them and now are completely blown away by who they have become.

As I pushed my cart away and went down another aisle, I began to wonder what would have happened if instead of “showing out” they had quietly agreed to disagree, or perhaps even end the relationship without spewing the verbal hate that really no one deserves to hear after a day, a month, a year or a lifetime of love.

I’ve got to think that the most hurtful words in the English language are I want a divorce. I can’t imagine how that must feel, as those words are coming out of the mouth of the one who at one time you couldn’t wait to kiss—the mouth that promised in sickness and in health, the mouth that rang with excitement and joy at the birth of your child.

And today that person seems to speak a different language—words you’ve never heard them say to anyone, much less to you, which are coming forth like a torrent, and you’re washed over by the sheer volume of words that for years were unspoken and you never expected to be said… and I’m sure you pray you never hear again.

If this conversation is going to take place this holiday season, let me ask you to re-think the impending damage. I’m going to assume that all involved know that their hearts are very distant, so there is no need to shout to be able to hear each other.

In fact, if your anger is going to cause you to speak a different language than the one your spouse or family or parents are used to hearing you speak, then re-think your outcome, because the damage that it will cause will most likely never be healed or forgotten. And when kids are scarred at a young age, you’ve done a lifetime of damage, and no kid deserves that, least of all from their parents.

And I’ll add that no parent deserves to be treated with disrespect and hurtful words by their children. They brought you into this world or chose you to be their child (and kids don’t come with a how-to manual), they did the best they could with what they had and who they were, so back it down before you break their fragile, aging hearts, because when parents are deeply hurt they carry that with them to their last days, and no parent deserves that, least of all from their kids.

Ladies and gentlemen, if the end is going to be what it is going to be, then be gentle. You can break the heart without crushing the spirit. For most people, the heart can heal; a crushed spirit, not so much.

If you are going to make life-changing decisions this season, show a bit of respect. Find within your hardened heart some measure of kindness, and be very careful with your words.

Ah, friends, in good times and bad, I think the world would be a little happier if we gave people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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