There have been violent rain storms across the country recently. The photos of flooded streets, twisted trees, and roofless buildings serve as a reminder of the destructive power in nature. We would do well to remember the destructive power within us, as well, when we lose our temper and act out against others. Often, the “others” are family and friends. People close to us that need our love and understanding, not our loud angry voice. The Persian poet Rumi puts it this way:
“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
When we want people to behave in a different manner, we first need to examine our behavior toward them. A harsh tone of voice is usually returned with a harsh tone of voice. I was reminded of this on a recent road trip with my husband. In trying to give directions, I succeeded in getting us both angry and upset. So, we missed a turn and went a couple of blocks in the wrong direction. In the entire scheme of life, not big deal. In that moment in time, my need to be right, was a big deal. Looking back on the incident, my actions did nothing to help us arrive sooner at our destination. They only served to get both of us upset.
I noticed a similar situation with two co-workers recently. They both had a certain way they liked to accomplish a task. In either case, they got to the destination and the work got done. Did it really matter if it was done a little at a time over the course of the shift or all at once at the end? It was a huge bone of contention for them. Once they set aside their attachment to their way being the right way, they could come to an agreement about the steps of the process to get the job done. Timing – little by little, or all at once, wasn’t important to the outcome.
My invitation this week is to pay attention to the tone and volume of your voice when interacting with others. Let me know how raising your words, not your voice, works. Post your comments here.