Monday, July 25, 2005

Measure Twice...Cut Once

Isn't that the adage? Measure twice, cut once. Doing otherwise might cost a length of fabric or lumber.

In my case, this refers to words.
Measure my words twice...cut someone to the bone once.

It's a defense mechanism, I admit.
I use my words as a weapon to cut someone to the bone. Leaving them there terminally wounded without blood ever having spilled. It may be hours or days before they realize that I have shredded them with such precision.

Well, fortunately, I've shrugged off that bad habit. For the most part, anyway.
I do try to use my gift of gab for encouragement...
But alas, there are those days when I forget to measure,
And I simply begin cutting.

Today was one of THOSE days.
One of THOSE phone calls.
One of THOSE times when someone made the error of crossing my path when I was in no mood to cede the right of way (I had the right-of-way, by the way), or for that matter, share the road at all. All the while saying the 'cordial' thing, I found myself slipping into that caustic tone that erodes and slices through whatever it touches.

And then I felt bad.
I always do.

Why do we do that? Why do we go back to bad habits that serve no purpose except to make us feel incredibly horrible later on, and then we spend twice as much time being remorseful.

Would it not have been easier for me to measure first? Perhaps not cut at all?

Earlier today, I heard a very wise man say, "It is not my place to be offended. It is my place to seek out reconciliation."

Ouch, that cuts to MY very core.

Measured words from man of measure.
He died not too terribly long after uttering that.
Too bad he was cut down in his prime.


At 8:56 PM, Blogger Chloe said...

My dad has the ability to destroy spirits with his caustic, demeaning manner. Sometimes it shocks me how readily I can slip into that mode (that's the reason I started studying Buddhism). Good for you for trying to change a habit you don't like.

Sometimes, though...people totally deserve it :)

At 7:23 PM, Blogger Bill said...

It's a habit I slip back into from time to time as well. I know it's a defense mechanism... when I want some one to back off... I go for the 'slice and dice'.

Like you I've worked at it for a while... but every once in a while it slips out again!

At 9:20 PM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

Haha, yes I usually don't have any trouble keeping my lid on in real life, at least. Sometimes over the phone or on the internet, however...

At 4:55 AM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Hi Whit,

Please do not be so hard on yourself. We all fall back into those old traps. For me, when I am uncomfortable with something, it is usually something within ME that I need to fix. In otherwords, it is all about the inside job of keeping myself in check.

Reading many of your posts, I admire how you have the ability to stay silent when you want to speak. This is something I am trying to learn to do, as I want to speak and speak when sometimes it is best to stay quiet.


At 4:28 PM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Hi Whit,

Just dropping by to say hello and say hope you and your family are doing well.



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