If you read the title, you may be confused. Why title this post “Vice Versa?” It’s simple. It’s because I am the complete opposite of what the above graphic says. I am slow to hear, quick to speak, and quick to anger.
I have my momma’s temper, and my dad’s. I am both of their child, and I have inherited the good and the bad. Along with this, I also tend to see the worse in everything, so I sometimes overreact to a situation. I can think of many times when I have let my temper get the best of me. In arguments with my husband, in conversations with my mom, in issues at church. There is no relationship dynamic that is immune from letting my temper get the best of me.
I am never violent, but I let my words lead the way. I have let my words and feelings break apart relationships, or cause discord. I have improved through my years, and I contribute maturity as the main reason. However, every once in a while, I react to situations from a place of anger of frustration. These are not my proudest moments. In fact, these are the moments that keep me up at night. But how do I change it? The bible gives us direction on what it is we should do when dealing with others.
James 1:19-20 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
- Quick to listen. Do I really listen? Probably not. When I am in a situation that is uncomfortable or that I do not like, I am more than likely reading the situation. My mind is overworking, and while I hear what is being said, I am not listening to learn, I am listening to react. I am thinking in my head what I want my next words to be, and I am not listening to what it is that is being said. I overanalyze every word. Earnest Hemmingway tells us, “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
- Slow to speak. I am quick-witted. I can spout off a retort faster than I can blink my eyes. Which is exactly what I shouldn’t do. I should use my filter and learn to let some things go. But I don’t. I let the words that others say negate my feelings, and I respond. My husband is the epitome of thinking before he speaks. When he talks, his words aren’t rushed. When telling a story, he pauses to regroup his thoughts. There are times that this drives me absolutely nuts. For instance, if we are disagreeing. I rant, and he doesn’t. He listens to what I am saying and makes rational comments. I don’t listen to what he is truly saying, or twist it to fit my argument, and then I respond. It’s not that I want him to argue with me, but I want to feel as if both of us are in it. I was raised with the idea that anything worth having is worth fighting for. So, in my line of thinking, if you don’t fight for it, you must not want it bad enough. Throughout our 18 years of being together, I have really had to retrain my way of thinking. When first married, we argued constantly, now, it is very rare.
- Slow to anger. I wish I were more like my husband. He can let things roll off of his back, and not get torn up about things. Me, on the other hand, I am so quick to become upset or hurt by a situation. I am sensitive. I am also empathetic, so if others that I care about are upset, then my protective nature comes out. I need to do better about letting things roll, and chill. When I don’t, I say things that are hurtful, or cause more conflict. I am not acting from a place of love or righteousness, but rather anger and hurt.
I’m going to work hard to be a better me. I am going to work to listen, truly listen. I am going to truly think about what I say, and how it might change the situation. I am going to be slower to anger by trying calming strategies, and lastly I want to treat people the way God intended for us to treat each other. With love and respect. This won’t be a sudden change, but it is one that I desperately need to make.