Actions speak louder than words. Do they? Sometimes words can be incredibly powerful. Words of first love, that tenderly begin relationships. Words of hatred, that break them apart. Words mothers and fathers sing while cradling their children, words that will be passed down to future generations. Words whisper, sing and roar.
They break up and they make up. And yet, there is still some honest truth in that old saying. Because sometimes, words are lazy. I’ll admit, I let words do my work for me sometimes. Sometimes, saying “sorry” or “I love you” can be very hard to do, but often, we use these words to make up for or replace our actions.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
I recently recognized this in myself after watching my daughter do it. She had whacked her brother, and seeing me notice, quickly grabbed him and said “Sorry!” before I could react. I began explaining to her why saying a quick sorry didn’t make it ok; how could she show him she was sorry instead? Sit with him until he felt better? Share a favorite toy?
“That was easy for you to say,” I told her, and realized that I am guilty of this kind of cop-out every day. How could I use actions instead of words in positive ways? Surely telling my children I love them is a good thing, and not something I’m going to cut back on, but showing them I love them takes more effort.
Giving my daughter my full attention while she tells me a story, or playing chase with my son when I’d rather just be sitting down – these are ways I can make them feel loved and appreciated without saying a word.
Learning And Growing
My husband and I say “I love you” to one another at the end of most phone conversations, but packing his lunch for him or letting him sleep in on a Saturday actually demonstrates this love. I am working on this regarding apologies as well. Instead of just an “I’m sorry”, I am trying to be mindful of what I did in the first place that I need to be sorry for, to work harder at not letting it happen again.
I love words (reading, writing, singing, crosswords…) and fully believe in the power they have, but I also feel that showing instead of just telling can make a huge difference in the way we treat others and the relationships we have.
Start simple. How can you show someone you care about that they are loved? How can you let someone know you have listened to them, without the words “I hear you!”? A few times a week, maybe once a day, catch yourself before you speak and show someone how you feel instead – with a hug, a helping hand, or a listening ear.
The words “Thank you”, “I’m sorry” and “I love you” are always nice to hear, but the effort it takes to make someone feel that you truly mean what you are saying speaks louder than the words themselves.