Be Intentional in the Way You Treat Others

I really don’t like trite expressions, but there’s one that’s grown in importance to me over the years: Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

It sounds so simple, yet it can actually be rather challenging, especially in terms of the relationships we have with people in our lives. Sure, it can sometimes be scary to say what’s in your heart, but I can think back to far too many times when I wish that I had said what I really wanted to say rather than hidden the truth or not been completely honest with someone who should have known my feelings.

Say what you mean—don’t say what you think other people want you to say or what seems like the safer option. It’s better to be bold and take a risk by saying what you mean rather than looking back in wonder or regret later for letting a prime opportunity pass you by.

The other half of that expression—meaning what you say—is even more important. I’ve been on the wrong end of someone not meaning what he said, and it hurt. A lot. I once let a guy lead me on for months and feed me some pie-crust promises (easy to make, easy to break), and I was left with a broken heart and an ocean full of tears. It’s really easy to let words fly out of your mouth, but actually living up to what you led someone to believe is another story entirely.

Make sure that what you’re telling someone is what you actually mean so that you don’t leave someone hurt and confused.

I’ve never been on a real date. I’ve been in 19 weddings and attended many more as a guest, but I’ve always either gone by myself or taken my sister as my plus one. For two of these weddings, I was supposed to have dates, but the guys both canceled. Two separate weddings. Two different guys. I wish that they both would have been honest with me from the start if they weren’t planning to go with me.

If you say you’re going to do something or be somewhere, do the thing, and show up to where you said that you’d show up. Otherwise, don’t initially commit to it.

Yes, sometimes life happens, and you do have to back out on plans that you made. But have you ever said to someone “we should get together soon” or “yeah, I’ll be there for sure” or “I’ll be praying for you” without truly thinking about what you’re saying or actually having the intention of following up with that person, going to whatever you agreed to go to, or later thinking about what you said that you’d be praying about? While it’s great to offer friendliness and support to others, it’s important to be intentional in what you say and to make sure that you follow through on the promises you make.

The human heart is strong, but it’s also extremely fragile at the same time. What you say to people and the way you treat them can impact them in bigger ways than you think. That’s the thing, though—if you’re not being intentional, you’re probably not even thinking about how your words and actions can affect others.

Every person matters and deserves to feel valued, so let’s make more efforts to remember that and be intentional in what we say and do.

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