limited word supply

Do you complain too much? I do. It's too easy to see the negative things and let them crowd out the good ones. 

This morning, out of nowhere, I was reminded of a personal essay I once read. It was written by a mother with a husband and some kids. I don't remember the story, just that due to some ailment or event, the woman had temporarily lost her ability to speak. The only way she could communicate with her family was by writing.

Sometimes I think it might be good for me if I could only communicate after some deliberation. It really makes a difference when you see your words in writing, before being able to deliver them.

If I had to look at each harsh word I said about my fellow drivers, or each criticism I offered my husband, or each complaint I had about something at work, before showing it to anybody, I probably would end up NOT showing it. Self-censoring at its best! I might be motivated to offer more grace, more kindness and encouragement, or just not say anything.

The woman in the essay had this same experience. Each time she wanted to snap at her husband or kids, she had to do it on paper. Having the chance to cool off and think through her responses instead of reacting rashly, in the heat of the reaction, led her to be more aware of her tongue and make different choices. When she regained her voice, she remembered the lessons she learned.

If you had to write down everything you wanted to say, what patterns do you think would jump out at you? How do you think your communication would change - if at all?

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