Our Actions Define Us, Not Our Words

December 11, 2015

It is likely that many times we have been surprised by, or even deceived by, the behavior and actions of others. Typically, this creates a ‘before’ and ‘after’ for us; if we feel disappointed or cheated, it is a hard blow for us to accept.

When this happens, it can be difficult for us to concretely define the reason or reasons why we have been so impacted by something someone else has said or done. We wonder whether all along they were trying to disguise their true intentions through their words.

The truth is, a great majority of people are fairly unaware of the effects of their actions and words, given that we often promise things without thinking, when in reality we have no intention of doing them. We may not even realize these senseless acts when we commit them; we simply say what we believe to be socially acceptable without stopping to think if it is the truth.

girl with umbrella sparkling rain actions not words

We are not defined by what we say, but rather what we do

Be what it may, we must watch what we say. As an old Spanish saying goes, “por la boca muere el pez.” Literally, this means “the fish dies by its mouth.” We don’t want to end up like the fish. We have to understand this point in the sense that we can say whatever we want to say, but we must always keep in mind what we truly feel and whether or not we will be able to follow through on what we say.

In fact, it could even be considered a good thing that we are not defined by what we say, because it would mean we would live in a ‘too good to be true’ kind of world. In other words, it would be just as perfect as it would be fake.

Although the world would be too boring if we were all perfect and always did exactly what we say, it is true that we have to find a middle ground. We must be able to function in a way in which there is a balance between premeditation and spontaneity. Considering this, we should always try to be as honest and consistent as possible, and be careful to not cause harm nor blemish our authenticity with what we say to others. girl with leaves covering eyes actions not words

Don’t be afraid of unfamiliarity 

“And what have you learned after so much pain, after so much betrayal?”

I responded: “I have learned to always smile.” 

Sometimes we insist on forming an image and impression of others that torments us. Generally, people are not black and white, but rather a blend of many colors in each moment.

We often behave too harshly when we assess others. This causes us to be let down frequently. However, we also often fail to analyze ourselves, mistakenly considering our own errors as less serious than those of others.

The answer is found, in part, in separating ourselves from all of the expectations that make us punish ourselves by hoping and waiting for others to do things that they will never do. In fact, it is likely that we don’t even know what we are waiting for when we take for granted that someone else will act the way that we would, or that we would want them to.

girl blowing away numbers on a clock actions not words

We are impulsive beings… 

The truth is that it is not easy to be consistent when in a given moment we may be blinded by the will of our emotions. This is a possibility that is always present and that threatens us constantly.

In any case, we must not deceive ourselves. We must work to manage our emotions in a way that allows us to avoid being taken in and persuaded by them in the worst of moments.

Therefore, we should not define ourselves by our words, but rather by our actions. We must be able to evaluate each situation in a full and comprehensive way. We should not be disappointed so quickly and easily by neither ourselves nor others.

We don’t have to punish ourselves nor do we have to feel overly guilty, but we need to avoid lying and exaggerating. In other words, it is one thing to make a mistake — we are all human — but another thing to deceive. That is something we cannot excuse neither in ourselves nor in others.

The best way to protect and heal ourselves from these bad experiences is to detach ourselves from expectations and from the images we ourselves have created. Not everyone is good, and not everyone is perfect.