Have you ever wished you could freeze time when you’re in deep conversation or the midst of an argument? I don’t know about you, but I’ve always struggled with being able to verbally express how I truly feel in a given moment. I usually need some time to gather my thoughts, write down what I want to say, and then deliver. However, the way that life usually works in that moment is I have verbal vomit and two hours later – when it’s too late – I’ve figured out the perfect words.
Why is it that some people have the gift of a fast comeback? They are so quick on their feet that they don’t jumble their words when they have to defend themselves. I envy these people.
What I find most humorous is that even though I know how to be polite and to keep my true feelings inside, I was not always so poised. When I was young, if a friend asked me to come over and I felt like just hanging home or go somewhere else, I would say so – never thinking how this would impact them. My Mom would stand mouth-open and horrified at my honesty that I just broke someone’s heart. She taught me to always consider other’s feelings and over the years I learned to bite my tongue at least in these situations.Unfortunately I went one step too far and ended up biting my tongue in the midst of some of the most horrible incidents in my life. I wish I had lashed out at the person on the other end.
I’d like to believe that I will get better at formulating my thoughts in all scenarios with age, but this is a pipe dream. Ever since I went on a self-imposed “stand up for myself” mission last year I have managed to put my foot in my mouth. I have allowed my passion or thoughts to escape the hole in my face before I thought it through. How do you take something back once you regurgitated it all over someone? Honestly – sometimes what I’ve actually said isn’t that bad. Sometimes it’s something best left unsaid.
I stand at a crossroads – does one speak their mind and lament later, or regret not being honest in the moment? I’ve read that regret can be a helpful emotion. Regret can teach us how to correct ourselves in the future and make sense of the world. But who really always wants to live a life of regret?
I wouldn’t say that I am looking for guidance in this area. I know there is a right and a wrong time to be completely open, honest, and truthful, but in other situations we should bite our tongues. I want to teach my daughter to be aware of the appropriate moments when she should not hold back her “verbal vomit” – if someone is putting her down, insulting her being, she should never stand close mouthed. I want her to always stand up for herself and to speak her mind. It’s something her mother has trouble doing. But at the same time, I want to teach her how to keep her feet out of her mouth.