I’m pretty sure everyone in the world has at some point heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words.” And, for the most part, you’d have to agree, right? I mean, what you say means absolutely nothing if you can’t back it up with your actions – that’s what makes promises dangerous.
But if you take it a step further, the saying becomes a bit simplistic…Sure, what you do IS important – but what if no matter what you do, you turn around and say something completely different?
Which is to be believed?
Here’s what I’ve discovered: it doesn’t matter. Because no one will really believe you either way – We can debate actions v. words until we’re blue in the face, but when it comes down to it, one has very little meaning without the other. What is the purpose of an empty action; of saying a word without meaning it?
To comfort? No – I assure you, nothing is more comforting than the truth – even when it hurts – because it comes from a place of respect and love.
To protect? No – whatever you are trying to protect will only be hurt by the uncertainty.
Inconsistencies are just that. Inconsistent. Shaky ground. A fault line. They are not a foundation upon which anything else can be built.
As Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
(And, I’d probably add, when what the people around you think, say, and do, is in harmony…I don’t know about you, but I find it infinitely easier for my own self to be confused than dealing with someone else who’s confused…at least I can follow my own thought process.)
Did you catch that though – happiness occurs when thoughts, actions, and words are in harmony. That doesn’t mean, “happiness occurs when you don’t know what to do, so you just say something – or do something, and then hope it all works out okay.” If you actually stop to think about it, is that really going to make things better? Or, in the end, will you just find yourself in a situation that you’re not sure if you want, and have no idea what to do about, because you said or did something – and NOW what?
If you’re confused, say you’re confused.
In the words of Jimmy Eat World, “If you don’t know, honey, honey, then you don’t.” It’s as simple as that. I promise you, no one is going to be mad. Or if they are mad, they’re going to be a heck of a lot less mad at you than they inevitably would be when they found out you lied to them. In fact, they might actually be relieved because they’re also confused. But at the very least they’re going to respect you for having the strength it takes to say, “I don’t know.”
As with everything in life, this debate isn’t about either/or – it’s about balance. It’s about words and actions. It’s about honesty, and being true to yourself and the people around you. Without those things little else matters and few things hold meaning.
Do you find actions or words more reassuring? Or do you think they’re equally important? Is there any particular reason why? Do you try to be a person of action, or a person who stands by their word, or both? Which qualities to you seek out in your friendships and personal relationships?