Have you ever helped an angry person calm down or made someone angrier after raising your voice or saying something harsh or sarcastic? Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” As the proverb indicates, it’s not just how soft and sweet we speak, but what and how we say it.
“Cold tea and cold rice are tolerable; cold looks and cold words aren’t.” —Japanese proverb
“Only a small percentage of communication involves actual words: 7%, to be exact. In fact, 55% of communication is visual (body language, eye contact) and 38% is vocal (pitch, speed, volume, tone of voice).” –Carmine Gallo, communication coach, in Body Language: A Key to Success in the Workplace
Keeping calm when someone else is angry can be very difficult, especially when voices begin to rise. Even if we keep calm and answer gently, sometimes the other person can become angrier when they realize their angry outburst isn’t fazing us. Having the right mindset beforehand can go a long way in not allowing emotions to take control and can help us think clearly without becoming defensive. It might help to remember that what a person says and how they respond usually says more about them than it does about us. Maybe they’re having a bad day, or maybe they’re trying to make up for the insecurity they feel inside in the same way a bully feels the need to push people around in order to have a sense of significance and power. Keep calm and be a balm.
“Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.” —Adlai Stevenson
“If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?” —Buddha
“Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.” —Brian Dyson
“He who gives a right answer, kisses the lips.” —Proverbs 24:26 NKJV
Isn’t a kiss much nicer than a punch in the face?