Monday, January 26, 2009

Words, words, words...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the significance of words. I guess you could say that making sure that I have the right word in the right place at the right time is a minor obsession of mine. (And yet I still make mistakes in expressing myself so, so often...hmm...) Most of what I've been thinking about has been in relation to words in communication and conversation with others. Now, I am not a quiet, sit-on-the-sidelines kind of person, especially if a subject comes up that I feel strongly about. Generally, if I have an opinion about something and it's important to me, I am anxious to voice it and explain what I think and why. The interesting thing is, nearly all of my dearest friends are the same way. We love to discuss things--anything from politics to books to what we can and can't wear to whether butter on your bread is better at room temperature or refrigerated. (Definitely room temp, by the way.) And yet, we have never fought or dealt with typical roommate girl drama. Naturally, we disagree about many things and sometimes try to make the other person understand our point of view a little too hard (I think I'm probably the most guilty here), but we've never really fought or been angry with one another. So why? Why is it that six girls who have such strong opinions about so many things and who know each other so well manage to get out of arguments like that?

I think it kind of has to do with something that we talked about in Doctrine and Covenants the other day. We read a verse talking about "jarrings" in the scriptural context, and someone asked what that words meant. After a bit of discussion, someone else said that they thought it meant getting into heated discussions or debates that feel contentious and unkind, even if they aren't straight-up arguments. I agree with that. And I guess that's why I've felt like my discussions with my wonderful roommates don't turn into fights or arguments--they aren't "jarrings." As soon as it starts to feel unkind or like any one of us is being too pushy, everyone present seems to take the cue to back off. We all try to calm down the tone of our words, and everyone apologizes for getting too worked up. I even received a text message the other day from one of these lovely, beautiful girls apologizing for beginning to be contentious in a conversation we'd had. And really, I was the one who was more at fault than she.

I guess it just boils down to how important sensitivity in our communication is. I don't think you have to sacrifice clarity or opinion for the sake of speaking kindly. I don't think you have to be a doormat either. But I look at the people with whom I feel the safest and that I trust the most, and invariably, they are the people that are the kindest in their manner of speaking to me. Unfortunately, the reason I've been thinking about it and noticing it so much is because it's something that I am trying desperately to work on--to be more gentle in my speech and more loving and accepting in my words. Speaking of which, this is getting long. Guess I've waxed a little eloquent. It's interesting to notice though. Maybe the more I notice the kindness of others, the better I'll be able to be at ridding my conversation of these "jarrings" and critical, contentious words.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Well, hello world. :) Here I am. I've been meaning to set up a blog for myself for quite some time, now. I don't know why I haven't done it sooner, but there it is. Finally, when my teacher for Doctrine and Covenants here at the Y made a weekly blog post a required part of our grade, I mustered up the incentive to create a blog. For the class, we're required to respond to our class readings and write our personal thoughts, so my first several posts will contain a lot of my thoughts about those things, but I anticipate using it for other thoughts too. Heaven knows I have plenty of them. There are so many things that I want to mull over and think and talk about that I rarely get to discuss with anyone. Maybe this will be a way to do that. Whether it is or not, here I go.