The community of C3 Church Hobart invited me into their conversation about being “Better Together”. They’ve been exploring relationships, parenting and marriage.
On Sunday March 27th I shared into the topic of Singleness. Or namely “How can the church family be family to those without family?”
Overwhelmingly the response from those in attendance includes comments from Singles expressing such joy to have their unique situation highlighted and understood. And from marrieds who are encouraged to consider what they have to offer to Singles in their circles looking for a deep sense of belonging and inclusion.
You can listen here :
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all!” – Thumper, Bambi
I’m sure we’ve all heard this quote (or a version of it – possibly without the double negative!) at some point in our lives. Our parents used it to kerb our critical opinions – particularly when we defended our outbursts because they were the “truth”. But then, we’ve probably all used it ourselves. Mostly as a passive aggressive (emphasis on the aggressive) way to say that we have a negative opinion but we’re far too polite to tell you what it is. Yes, because that’s an effective way of defusing a conflict – at no point ever in the history of defusing conflict!!!!
I love Kid President’s rewording.
Here are three options to “not saying anything at all”.
Choice #1 – think harder
Emotion, defensiveness, fear and tiredness can all make us feel there is nothing nice to say. In times when our thoughts, feelings or option seem overwhelmed by the negative, we all can pause and think harder.
Where is the potential positive? What can be encouraged or affirmed? What can be understood or explained? What alternate perspective could be explored?
Choice #2 – choose honesty
“Not saying anything at all” is a choice to withhold truth. Sure, there are times and places where hearing the truth would be more palatable but the truth is always our friend.
In fact, the truth from a friend is the best. It’s better than a withheld criticism and it’s certainly better than silence – where we are left to guess what the other is thinking.
Choice #3 – choose empathy
Any attempts we make to feel what another might be feeling will stand us in good stead to make a better response than silence.
What might they be fearing? What disappointment might they be anticipating? What questions might they be asking? What insecurity or jealousy buttons are being pushed?