To let people know that we care about them – another reason to speak only kind words
I once had a huge crush on a boy. Whenever he was around me I got totally tongue-tied and found myself saying the silliest things. Unfortunately my feelings were not reciprocated, but this was a nice boy who liked me as a friend.
One night after I had made my feelings (somewhat) apparent, he tried to let me down easy. He told me all the things that he admired about me while making it clear that he just wasn’t interested in me romantically. I remember being so frustrated and wanting to scream that I didn’t matter that he thought that I was funny, or smart, or even attractive. All I wanted was for him to feel for me what I felt for him, and he didn’t.
I was also frustrated because I felt like I had never communicated how much I really cared about him. I was always so nervous when he was around that I either said nothing, or talked and talked in a really sarcastic, know-it-all kind of way. I was always trying to seem cool and worldly. This façade didn’t allow me to let him know that I really liked him as a person, that I cared about him and his well-being. I was so focused on earning his approval that I couldn’t communicate my true feelings. Consequently I felt like he didn’t have a chance to get to know “the real me.”
Oh the drama of being 20 years old. Whether or not my perceptions at the time were true, years later I still worry that the people I care about don’t know how much I love them. I still get carried away trying to impress people or keep up the image of being capable and worldly. This image (and the effort that it takes to maintain it) doesn’t allow the space in my head or my heart to speak kind words to the people that I care about.
I think that in order to speak kind words, one has to let go of their façade and be vulnerable. I don’t think a person can be “cool” or aloof while speaking words that communicate loving kindness. As I’m trying to speak kind words all the time, I find myself feeling incredibly awkward and vulnerable most of the time. I wonder if people will think that I’m being strange. I’m afraid that I’ll say something and have to watch someone recoil from me and my words.
It’s a risk that I’m willing to take, because I still remember the regret I felt for never letting that boy know how deeply I cared for him.