One of the qualities I admire on people is the capability of thinking before they speak. Being and open and frank person I’ve had to learn how to think before I speak and pick it up as a skill. Culturally the word prudence is used in the context of what you say back in Colombia. I always think back to the phrase “the master of what you keep, and the slave of what you say.” which is one of those things that has helped me cope with a lot. This post is about the complete opposite though, and how simple phrases can change a relationship or even a life.
I love both of my parent’s deeply and surprisingly enough, after they got divorce I was closer to one more than the other. My father did not restrain things he felt at the time and hurt our relationship for a while, thankfully we worked through it and got it patched up. I was close to my Mom, she was a stay at home mother for most of my life, but after the divorce we got a lot closer. We went beyond the routine conversation to a different level of really communicating. I got to know her a lot better and realized that she knew me a lot better than I thought she did. As I get older I respect some of her decisions a lot more even if I still don’t agree with the way she handled some situations in the past. However, through great communication we got a lot closer.
Hearing her say that she was proud of me for the man I had become made my life more meaningful. Her praise as I navigated through life and encouragement that I had really grown as a person really made my quest for self improvement that much more rewarding.
After she experience someone very young and very close to her pass away at the young age of eight of a very rare neurological disease both of our lives changed. We realized that our lives are short, and can be cut even shorter. We learned to tell each other “I love you” in another level and it gave both of use a lot more faith. Our relationship got even stronger.
One of my aunt’s and I don’t get along all that well. I think primarily because we are both very stubborn when it comes to certain things. Even though she means well when she shares her opinions, at times they are a little misguided. As I got older and she got more opinionated we kind of stopped talking as often as we used to. I am very protective of my sister. Even now as a grown woman with a husband and two kids, I still see her as my little sister. A comment about her really drove a wedge between my aunt and I, and living far away made it even easier to just not have that relationship.
My aunt never apologized for the things that she said. I have been told that she does feel bad when she realized the gravity of what was said, but she never came forward and said sorry. What most people say does not hurt me, but when it comes to someone I care about, their opinion and words are what shapes my life. No matter how much we think that what those around us don’t shape our self image, they do… and I am not just aware of that, I embrace it. Her words really made me feel like she did not care who she hurt. In turn I felt like she truly did not care all that much.
Recently my mother told me a little conversation she had with my aunt. For the longest time I honestly did not even want to bring up the subject in conversation, but this time I let my Mom continued. She started to tell me what my aunt’s opinion of me was, what she really thought of me. I was surprised, very surprised of what she actually though of me, most importantly what she had observed about my life. She was not only calling me loyal, but responsible with what she was saying. My aunt actually did know me better than I gave her credit for, but she just never said it. The words I’m proud of “who you are or what you are doing” were never spoken.
I always think about of unspoken words in the literary sense that a lover never gets to tell that other person how much they care until the other person dies tragically in some accident; or maybe the person that even realizing fault never speaks up to say I’m sorry. The thing that I never though would shape my life so much would be the “I am proud of what you do, or who you are.” or I recognize that you have excellent work ethic. If you admire something someone next to you does, praise them for it. If you are proud of someone around you, specially someone you call friend or family, say it. At least for me, it has a great effect on my quality of live. And NO, this is not a “fishing for a compliment” type of piece of writing. So please leave comments only related to how a compliment has changed your life 🙂 nothing about me!