THE LAST WORD
I have been attacking some of my foibles with more rigor lately. One motive may be an impending birthday, which usually causes me to stop and take stock. For the last month I have been working on not always having to be the one who gets in the last word.
It really doesn’t matter what the topic is, it’s not remotely connected to confrontation, or competition, or trying to get my way. It’s really just I always want my thought to be the last one sent out into the ether. I am one of those people who historically must get in the last word.
If you have any email chain of communication with me, check it out; chances are the last one is from me. There is no question e-mail makes this habit easy to perpetuate, even if the only thing sent back is a “ :)”. It’s mine and it was last.
Though I started to realize having the last word can often be a detriment. It frequently means you said too much, and saying more in the future could be off the table. Not having the last word leaves the door open to actually having the next word. I also means you’ve left it hanging. It’s in your court. You don’t look needy and overly chatty. You don’t come off as someone who doesn’t know when to shut up. You let people wonder what you are really thinking, something I could to do more of.
There have been multiple occasions of late when the last word was appropriate. There was one case where I would have been defending my position, something that was being attacked. But I chose to shut up and let it go. The other person was totally wrong in all they said, but really why bother at that point? I wasn’t’ going to change anybodies mind with my final two cents. So I kept my two cents to myself. And I was the much bigger person for it.
If one goes by the adage a penny saved is a penny earned, the more you keep your two cents to yourself the bigger your verbal piggy bank gets, and you can draw on it when you really need it.
Having the last word is sometimes a form of being pushy: Sometimes it’s a form of being needy and sometimes it’s saying I need to be understood and at in it’s more aggressive state can be one up-man ship. If you think what you said it good, what I have to say is really good. And sometimes it’s just continuing the dialogue, a need for further connection and when that is not returned one can take it as rejection.
So I looked at all these things under my Traceyscope and decided I was going to start shutting up sometimes and see how that feels.
And you know what? I actually like it.
My word bank is overflowing and I feel a bit more in control, which one would think is the opposite, as getting in the last word is a form of verbal control. The ability to control those impulses results in a much stronger feeling of self-control.
And that is all I have to say about that.