Monday, April 18, 2011

Fighting Fairly: Hold that tongue!

*Special thanks for all the comments on the last post, especially for Naijamum's addition to the list.

I noticed early in life that I had a way with words. It must be because of all those new words my dad made me write and learn from NTA news and Concord newspaper. It was in my junior secondary school days that I learnt that every gift or skill acquired can have its negative side if not carefully/properly used.
I had ‘tongue-lashed’ this friend of mine for allowing someone copy her in a test because that’s what good friends do – they tell each other the truth! Well, it just happened that the truth is resisted if not told with wisdom. We never spoke to each other until I took my mum’s advice and apologised in SSS 2. Going forward, I tried to be careful with my ‘bluntness’ but yet again fell short.
This time around, I picked a fight with her because she was ‘dating’ a junior. In my opinion, it was improper conduct and unbecoming of a school prefect... pray tell, who made me judge? Till this day, I still see her action as wrong; however, my reaction wasn’t any better.
Fast forward, 3rd year at the Uni.
Lovely Miss Bee introduces me to Mr A, a new member of our study group. Mr A and I develop this chemistry (nothing relating to love) and become almost inseparable. Miss Bee being the hyperactive person she is would drift back and forth, in and out of many groups – she was that jovial.

Weeks to the semester exams I receive a text from her, officially ‘unfriending’ me. As a rule, I never let anything get in the way when I’m trying to achieve a goal hence I wait till after exams to address the issue. Within the one month it took to complete the exams, herself and Mr A had exchanged countless texts... enmity was brewing, and sadly, I was caught in the middle.
Miss Bee claimed she was ending her friendship with me because Mr A had ‘stolen’ me from her and since she didn’t want me to feel like I had to make a choice, she was going to let him have me! Truth is, I wouldn’t have been bothered if not for the harsh words she used in describing Mr A.
It’s been over 6 years and although I’m still in touch with them both, things are exactly not the same. Last year, Miss Bee apologised for all the hateful things she said and asked if I could help put in a word with Mr A to forget the past. Although I’ve tried to, I totally understand Mr A’s standpoint of ‘yes, she’s forgiven but we cannot go back to how we were before’!
If I didn’t know better, I’ll say to him, activate your church mind and let it go, but honestly, I can’t. I have put myself in his shoes and I’ve concluded that friendship with someone who once called me a beast, threatened to kill me and hurt my family will take the Holy Spirit’s intervention.
In all these, I have learnt one very important lesson. In our daily interactions with family and friends, we are bound to offend/annoy each other, whether on purpose or just because of the peculiarities of our personality. When we do, depending on which side of the divide we are at the time (the offended or the offender) it is important to stop in our tracks and think of what our actions/reactions/inactions may lead to.
Fighting fairly is a skill we all must learn to acquire as we deal with our colleagues, family and friends. I now know that although the work and traffic induced stress in Lagos can get one angry without notice, it is no fault of the person who’s getting the brunt of your caustic tongue.
Words, either nice ones or hateful/haughty ones, stay in the mind of the one who hears them long after the speaker has forgotten. Personally, I’ve tested the silence first, speech later therapy, and it has worked thus far, saving me from regrets and earning me admiration especially at work. If like me you enjoy airing your views then it may be very difficult at first but with every chance you get to walk away, you become better at it.
In the end, relationships have been shattered past repairs and countries have gone to war not because the issues could not be resolved, but because of the impact of the words carelessly said to each other. Let’s put this little member of our body (tongue) in check before it sets the world on fire.


Lara said...

Just like what is happening right now on twitter...hateful and later to be regretted words are been unleashed.

I am also a very blunt person, but over the years i have been able to handle and roll out my opinions.

HoneyDame said...

Very very true. I am going through one of those phases now and confusingly, it seems right, though some part of me is pinching me. Uhm! The tongue is a very powerful organ.

Naijamum in L. said...

True talk.
I tend to bite my tongue before I talk ...and it's soo worth it.

Because of this, whenever there is a misunderstanding (etc at work, social group)...people often vouch for me saying 'This is unlike NJ. The other person must be in the wrong' *smile*

As our people say...'no be how body they scratch person, na im person dey scratch am'

9jaFOODie said...

I can definitely related to this post. I try to be more cautious of the things I say these days.

os said...

Very true. I can't add anything to the sense this post makes than to say again, very true.

Okeoghene said...

On the spot

kitkat said...

lol i still dnt understand why miss bee was pissed that u had grown close to Mr A? its a little queer to see a female friend pissed at a guy for "stealing" her friend. Its something i'll expect a boyfriend to do lol.

The Corner Shop said...

Honestly oh, this little tongue causes so much trouble. But what was your girlfriend's beef nau? Na wa oh. Kitkat, in fact, i was thinking whether miss bee was in love with her lol!!!


Blessing said...

Yup, you are sooooo right! Thankfully, I've never been the "blunt" type however I used to keep silent when I was meant to talk...which cuz issues in my it goes both ways...we must learn to choose our words wisely, cuz once they've been said...u can neva take them back!

Myne Whitman said...

You know that saying, silence is golden, so true sometimes. Lovely post, the illustrative story was quite interesting. This tongue eh?

Anonymous said...

I follow u on twitter, I noticed you asked some rhetoric questions frm those who generalising abt the Northerners and muslims on twitter. im impress becus form from your posts i knw u a christiaan.

its good that ther are some christians like you who knw that we are muslims does not mean we arre evil.

am a muslim becus i was a born a muslim so why shld pipul hate me for my religion.

thk u, good blogpost. pipul shld watch what they say in every situatn, then the world will be a beta place

A-9ja-Great said...

I simply love this post.We mostly are so into ourselves that we don't know when we hurt people.We sometimes claim we're right and so we won't apologize for wronging someone even when in trying to be right we went about it wrongly.

Gbemisoke said...

I've learnt the hard way not to use my "Radio Nigeria" mouth as a tool to hurt. In fact I had to deliberately "give my mouth to Christ" years after I had given my life to Christ when I read James three where it says that the tongue is a fire and a person that doesn't offend in word is perfect.
It is hard oh, but it helps to remember that words cannot be unsaid like broken eggs cannot be unbroken.
While it's good to tell our friends the truth, remember the bible says that like apples of gold in settings of silver, so is a word fitly spoken... It is not easy to keep the tongue in check oh! God help us

Anonymous said...

laughed @ it would take holy spirit intervention....

your words rings truth...the tongue is the smallest member but the power of life & death lies in it & Jesus said 490 times in a that possible for someone to offend somebody that much in a day?.....

of course, nah who pack the shit nah dey remember & not who shit am.. so the receiver of such hurtful words might forgive but hardly forgets because it's in the subconscious mind & would always arise when a similar thing to done again, that is when we say ;YOU HAVE STARTED AGAIN ABI?..

weldone .. a thought provoking post.

Omoregee said...

So true. I definately relate.

Have a similar experience with the Miss Bee n Mr A scenario.

'He who can control his tongue can control his life'

True lessons here *thumbs up!

DaughterofherKing said...

hmmmm interesting article... but wisdom too is needed to manage the tongue...

I would say if anyone wants to forgive someone that has hurt them in the past either through words or actions or you also have to make the conscious effort to forget (not easy, but not planning on doing it by my strength when God's grace is too sufficient and in abundance for me to tap into)...

Besides, if we do not forget the mistakes and rubbishness of others, how do we expect God to forgive and forget about our sinful act that occurs every sec of the day or so...??? God forgave and forgot those who persecuted JESUS so what more humans??? So my advice to Mr A he should pray for grace to totally forget since he has forgiven ... afterall this girl in question was quite young then and her mental mind too was different (level of maturity).. thus, look at it as a child growing up and didnt know any better...

I can relate to Miss Bee beef about the friendship... When I started getting close with a dude my friend introduced to me, she got quite upset and accused me of a lot of things. Although, she didnt say she will kill me whatever, i think she just got jealous (unfortunately, the jealousness took a toll on her emotions and she exihibited it in the way she knew how too... I dont hate her for the things she might have said to me though, I was upset but I have forgiven and eventually I will forget with time...

My point, she was like that because she cared for the friendship (no homo). but I think she did what she could to get me to see her point and i thought she was just mad jealous of it all(my mistake, but have since learn how to approach things in a sensible way).

Sha, through the grace of God, am learning and making a conscious decision not to hold things against anyone that chooses to say hurtful things to me this is because a)their mental state needs to be purged b)the lack of wisdom affects the mental state and the actions they portray c) they are probably trying to say something that is hurting them but dont know to say it in a way that would be understood..

It takes grace to see things from a different perspective and not to judge or hate the person... I am not claiming am a saint in the tongue department but have learnt that life in itself is a journey where u will encounter different people with a very perculiar mindset and do not know any better... Out of the abundance of the heart comes all things, so the tongue is controlled if the state of the mind is controlled... I agree with James he spoke well when he said we should all ask for wisdom from God who gives it freely...

I am a very deep person hence the detail essay.... lol.

sosexy said...

Just like what @lara said about twitter, that place is fast becoming a minefield.
I totally agree with your views.
The trick is learn to teach your tongue that you're in charge and not the other way round..

P.E.T. Projects said...

Thanks to you all for the comments

@Lara: im beginning to think some pple's aim of joining twitter is to spread their bitterness!

@HoneyDame: my dear, just keep asking God for wisdom before you take any decision. It is well

@Naijamum: na so oh, if u over scratch na u go bear the repercussion.

@9jaFoodie, Os, Okeoghene: Thanks

@Kitkat, Cornershop: You dont want to experience it my dear. I almost concluded that women have patent rights for jealousy, and you know what they say about a woman scorned.

@Blessing: Some of us who like to 'say it as it is' have learnt the hard way.

P.E.T. Projects said...

@Myne, Gbemisoke: As little as it is, the tongue can heal or kill


@Ibhade: Very true, most of us work forgive people's mistakes easily but our minds are just wired to keep remembering.

@Omoregee : thanks for the quote

@Daughterofherking: Dont worry dear, the essay made sense. Forgiveness as you've pointed out is a personal decision, forgetting however requires grace.

@Sosexy: I used to think the limitation in words wld help pple write with discretion, i guess i was wrong.

P.E.T. Projects said...

Anonymous: thanks for stopping by.
Those guys on twitter were simply taking the piss.

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Anonymous said...

If you do not think about the future, you cannot have one.