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Knowing What to Say and When to Say It


By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson | The Birmingham Times

When we feel wronged, there’s a strong tendency to react in much the same manner and return deed for deed. But I’m asking you to do something a little different as you endure such the next time around. Show mercy, keep it moving and live above it.

And let ‘s go ahead and deal with this straight up.  This will be the last thing you feel like doing. But and I’m issuing this as a reminder to myself also, another’s immature behavior and/or disparaging remarks shouldn’t be our invitation to meet them at that low place.

Instead, I’m asking you to take the high road, which will be the road less traveled and more challenging to access. But I believe you have the strength to do it. And here’s how.

I believe one obvious sign of maturity rests in a measured response – thinking through before putting any more fuel on the fire of bad behavior. Trust me, we can all return wrong for wrong.  I am no different. I find that I am too “tempted” to right a wrong that’s been done to me or said about me through my own insufficient efforts.

Life coach Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson believes one obvious sign of maturity rests in a measured response — thinking through before putting any more fuel on the fire of bad behavior. (Adobe Stock)

I think of all the times I’ve attempted to do that and not once was that person’s opinion of me or behavior toward me changed for the better based on my response or defense of myself.

Most times it only served to make matters worse because if someone has already decided to think ill of you, there may be little you can do to change that. So why waste your time and energy trying to convince them otherwise? In fact, I believe it is a hallmark of aging gracefully.

Your time will be better spent in the presence of those who respect and appreciate you. And when we know better, we should do better.  And that includes how we respond to those who don’t have our best interest at heart.

Am I advocating for you to allow someone to intentionally harm you? Absolutely not. Am I asking you to take the higher road when your character is attacked? Absolutely no.

Their inappropriate, immature and negative actions or responses may have little to do with you. So again, gather yourself and stop taking their character hits personally. But do use it as an opportunity to grow gracefully.

Here’s a quick guide to grow through challenging times and deal with challenging people.

First, take a moment to breathe before responding inappropriately. Second, set your ego aside. Is there any truth to what they’re saying, even if it’s in minimal doses? Third, it’s perfectly okay not to respond in the moment.

Part of maturity and wisdom is recognizing what to say and when to say it. And you’ll notice I’ve dealt very little with holding the other person accountable for what they say or do. That’s because I wholeheartedly believe you don’t have to worry about that. Their actions have a way of coming back to them full circle. You are responsible only for you.

Know that I’m cheering for you and I’m just an email away.

Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson is a life coach, author and speaker. Her column appears each month online and in The Birmingham Times. You can contact Keisa at keisasharpe@yahoo.com and visit http://www.allsheanaturals.com for natural hair and body products.