Say what you mean and… 3

Say what you mean and mean what you say was one of the “snaps” my friends and I used to say when we were growing up in St. Louis.  We didn’t really understand what we were saying  given the ferocity of our delivery of those words but as I’ve grown, I’ve come to understand them.

They’ve come to mind a lot recently as I’ve heard people, particularly politicians and reality TV characters, deny something they’ve said even when their exact words are replayed or repeated to them.

“I didn’t mean that…”

“What I meant was….”

“My comments were taken out-of-context.”

“I didn’t say that.”  (Yes, you did —, here are your exact words.”)

“I didn’t say that.”

It seems there is a culture of denial  and we expect people to know what we mean when we say it and to know that what we mean is ever-changing as it suits us to fit the situation at  the time.

As a result of observing this in others and seeing in their words and behavior my reflection, I’m becoming quieter, more thoughtful, and much slower to respond.  I’m trying to choose  my words carefully with everyone from my spouse to my children to my friends to my acquaintances, basically to everyone that I have occasion to speak with.

This is difficult to do but a wise practice in this world of the quick retort, the promotion of sound bites, and the elevation of the negative/dramatic/silly (by the social networks and by the media amny of whom seem to lead/slant as much as they reflect).

In this age of denying and flip-flopping, which happens on all sides of the political spectrum, I crave honesty and  forthrightness .  As girls –  my friends and I had it right: Say what you mean and mean what you say! – even if we didn’t fully understand the truth of those words.


If you liked this post, you might also like:

I Don’t Have An Opinion that I’m Willing to Shre

This or That? (depends)

The Missives are in the Air


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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3 thoughts on “Say what you mean and…

  • Lilly

    How right you are and what a good reminder for me, a person who always speaks before she thinks. I think people jsut do not take ownership or responsibility for actions and their words. Everything is so fluid. I just watched a You Tube video of Maria Shriver who was giving an address at a university in California. I really liked what she had to say about taking time and pausing before you do or say anything. Have your family or friends noticed this change and is it working for you?

  • Candelaria

    People have noticed that I’m much quieter in most of my conversations and more observant.  Sometimes my silence – particularly if it seems like I have things to say – is unsettling.  Have to find balance – between spontaneous sharing of thoughts and not sharing at all.
    Thanks for making a comment.

  • miruspeg

    Candelaria very wise words “Say what you mean and mean what you say”.
    Understanding our emotions and how to express them is vital when talking and not blurting out words we will regret.
    I am learning also not to respond to emails when I am in an emotional state and sleep on it before replying….it has saved many friendships.
    Take care
    Peggy xxxxxxx