Respond Instead of Reacting: Speak Your Truth, Not Your Fears

by Vicki Savini

Finances, relationships, responsibilities, and life in general can certainly create a great deal of noise in our heads. However, if we truly want to feel inner peace, we must take the time to learn to be mindful instead of mind full. This, and only this, will allow us to respond to life instead of reacting to it. I have tons of happy memories from my childhood and a few harsh ones too. Unfortunately, the harsh memories are those that we replay over and over again, until we heal them. A difficult memory that stuck with me for a very long time was my mother’s pattern of despair.

She would appear agitated or frustrated about something and soon after she would yell, “One of these days, you’ll come home and you’re not going to find me!” (There’s still a part of me that shudders a bit when I hear those words.)

As a child, this was a clear sign that my mom was angry about something and if I didn’t hurry up and make it better, she just might leave.

All I knew in my youth was that I didn’t want my mom to be mad and I surely didn’t want her to leave. As an adult, I have a very different view.

“Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” ~Laurence J. Peter

I am the youngest of four girls in my family, and I was born eleven years after my next eldest sister. My mom was in her late thirties when she gave birth to me, and she had been a mother from the age of seventeen.

When I think back to my own life at the age of seventeen, I certainly did not have the worries or concerns that my mother did. 

I wasn’t worried about finances, a marriage, or taking care of a young child. Instead, I was worried about what to wear to school the next day and when I was getting my braces off! One memory that sticks in my brain that happened when I was seventeen, was the day my mom stopped saying she was leaving.

I remember sitting at our kitchen table when my mom asked me to pull a turkey out of the oven for her because she had recently hurt her back and needed some assistance with this simple task. I was busy writing in my journal so I responded, “Sure mom, in a minute.”

She repeated herself again (because I’m sure she was nervous about her turkey burning or drying out).

I was engrossed in my journal and I just wanted to finish my entry. She raised her voice and once again said the words I dreaded to hear, “One of these days…”

I didn’t even let her finish her sentence. I jumped out of my chair, flung open the oven door, grabbed the turkey, and threw it on the stove. I turned to her and said, “Yeah mom, I know. You’re not going to be here. Well, there’s the door, don’t let it kick you in the ass!” 

The room fell silent as our eyes met and our hearts raced. Within a few moments, she looked at me with tears and I reflected those tears right back to her with my own eyes. No words were spoken, but in that moment, we both got it.

I understood that she never intended on leaving; she was just angry and frustrated and honestly didn’t know how to handle her emotions. She understood that those words hurt me and that she was putting her own pain on me.

We both understood that speaking with anger was never going feel right in our hearts.

My mother is a loving, generous, caring woman who, at times, spoke from a place of anger and fear with her children. What was she angry with? Well, my mom is currently in her seventies and she’s been raising children from the time she was seventeen.

Prior to getting married and having her first child at a young age, she felt unloved and invisible all too often in her life. Her anger came from not only feeling totally unseen, but by never feeling truly and totally loved.

As an adult, I now know and teach that you must love yourself before you can love another.

All too often, we give too much of ourselves only to feel agitated, annoyed, and empty. This is when we react to life. We speak out of anger instead of love.

When we feel these negative feelings, it’s extremely difficult to respond to life because we are too busy reacting to our painful emotions. On the other hand, when we respond to life, we take the time to quiet our minds and silence the noise before we offer our words of wisdom.

Of course, we don’t set out to hurt others with our words, especially those whom we love. Hurtful words come from hurting hearts, and although we think it will feel better once it’s out, it never does.

I’ve learned a great lesson from this childhood memory that I’d like to share with you.

When you feel words of anger bubble up inside of you, take a moment to walk away and take a deep breath. I mean really, take a deep breath. Then, imagine yourself dumping all of the noise in your full mind out into the Universe.

Replace those thoughts and worries with more deep breaths and this one beautiful affirmation: I am loved and I am mindful.

Once you’ve taken the time to calm down, look within to see who it is you are really angry with before you move forward to speak your truth.

My mom wasn’t angry with me. She was angry with herself and quite possibly life. When the anger would bubble up, she wasn’t speaking her truth. Instead, she was unknowingly releasing her frustration on an innocent child.

It is important to speak your truth. However, you want to be sure it’s your truth that’s coming out and not your fears.

Be mindful of your thoughts, your words, and your actions, because words of anger will never heal the human heart.

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